Joan Burton: 'We will take over 5,000 refugees'
THE Labour Party has said it believes more than 5,000 refugees could be given sanctuary in Ireland as the Government comes under increasing pressure to play a greater role in addressing the crisis.
Tanaiste Joan Burton said there was no “upper limit” to how many refugees Ireland could accommodate.
Her remarks were backed by Communications Minister Alex White, who said recent controversies surrounding the “relatively modest” water charges were put into “stark perspective” by the images of thousands of displaced families.
A range of departments are preparing detailed plans which will feed to an overall Coalition strategy aimed to contributing to the efforts to tackle the crisis.
Minister with responsibility for the Office of Public Works Simon Harris last night said he had directed his officials to draw up a list of vacant sites that could be used as accommodation.
Speaking yesterday, Ms Burton said in excess of 5,000 could potentially be accommodated.
“It could be 5,000, I wouldn’t like to put an upper limit on it,” the Labour leader told Newstalk.
“In relation to the people coming into Europe, Ireland
absolutely has to and will step up to the plate because as a country that’s what we’ve always done,” she added.
Speaking to the Herald, Minister White said a figure in the thousands “seems realistic”.
“We are a well-off country, even though that might surprise some people.”
Meanwhile, U2 frontman Bono has warned that Europe “will be no more” if a solution to the refugee crisis is not found.
Rock giants U2 have drawn attention to the plight of refugees and called for “humanitarian leadership”.
“We don’t know what the answer to the refugee crisis in Europe and Africa is, but we know that if we don’t figure it out, then Europe, which is a beautiful idea, will be no more. whatever it is,” said Bono.
Festival-goers at Electric Picnic were being encouraged to donate their tents to help with the refugee crisis in Europe.
Attendees were asked to stop at the Global Green, where volunteers were on hand to take camping supplies off revellers’ hands.
The tents need to be of good quality and condition and they will be donated to very good causes, including Dublin Simon Community, Dublin Calais Refugee Community and Cork Calais Refugee Community.