THE Irish Red Cross in Cork has begun a pilot programme following up on offers of accommodation to refugees coming to Ireland in 2016.
The offers were made on the Irish Red Cross Register of Pledges, the official register for solidarity offers to refugees of accommodation, goods and services.
Along with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Irish Red Cross is the only non-State body on the Government’s Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) which aims to resettle 4,000 refugees over the next two years.
The Irish Red Cross was asked to coordinate these offers by Government after the public pledged refugee support to a number of organisations in recent months.
‘We are following up on over 70 pledges made in county Cork with local members meeting those who made the offers, just to establish face-to-face contact and see where people are with their offer,’ said Liam O’Dwyer, secretary general of the Irish Red Cross.
‘Our members in Cork have had an orientation meeting and have been provided with the necessary paper work to begin this important pilot. This project follows an important operational principle – to obtain learnings in advance of a wider programme which begins in 2016.
People on the Register of Pledges in county Cork have been contacted by Irish Red Cross Head Office by phone and email and dates for local members to pay a visit are being arranged.
‘This is a purely a pilot project and no one knows where refugees will be living other than the 150 or so that are currently being relocated to Waterford, Tipperary, Kerry and Cork. But over the two-year lifespan of the Government’s Refugee Protection Programme we can expect refugees to be moving into communities throughout the country,’ Mr O’Dwyer said.