Minister Stanton calls on communities to sponsor a refugee family as he launches pilot Community Sponsorship Ireland initiative

 

 

6 March 2019

 

The Minister of State with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton TD, has today announced the launch of a new pilot Community Sponsorship Ireland (CSI) initiative for refugee families. The CSI has been developed under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) in collaboration with key civil society organisations including UNHCR Ireland (the UN refugee agency), Nasc, the Irish Refugee Council, the Irish Red Cross, the Irish Refugee and Migrant Coalition and Amnesty International. Minister Stanton is now inviting members of the public to play a key role in this initiative to welcome and integrate a refugee family into their community.

 

Under the programme, private citizens and community-based organisations will provide direct support and assistance to a refugee family invited to settle in their locality. The participating family will be registered with UNHCR and will have been declared as refugees by UNHCR prior to their arrival in Ireland. Involved community groups will assist the family in accessing services and provide the supports and friendship necessary to enable them to find a safe and welcoming refuge in their community. A community group in Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath, welcomed the first family under the initiative from Syria in December.

 

Speaking in Dunshaughlin today after meeting with the family and members of the community sponsorship group, Minister Stanton said: “The community in Dunshaughlin, supported by Nasc, has been the first to welcome a refugee family under this new initiative. They have shown great commitment to the family and I have been very impressed with the supports they have provided. Meeting the family today and hearing of their experiences in Syria is a timely reminder of the need to find alternative pathways for admission, like community sponsorship, for those who have lost everything and need our help to start again in a safe and supportive community environment.  

 

My goal under this pilot phase of the initiative is to have 10 communities participating in CSI, each helping a refugee family to start a new life here in Ireland. I am calling on communities across the country to extend the hand of friendship to a refugee family and work alongside Government to make this a reality. Community engagement and leadership will drive the success of the initiative. Dunshaughlin can provide a model for others to follow and I look forward to further announcements of community involvement in the near future.

 

Training and support will be provided for participating communities.  A Regional Support Organisation will also assist them. Full details of the Community Sponsorship Ireland initiative and the application form for communities wishing to apply can be found at http://www.integration.ie/en/ISEC/Pages/WP19000003

 

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