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Justice, Politics

Take Calais children now – Martin Browne

Cllr Martin Browne of Sinn Féin Tipperary has echoed calls for Ireland to accept 200 children from the Calais refugee camp. He says that the failure of the Irish State to take this opportunity to show compassion for children portrays us in a very bad light, and he calls on all Tipperary TDs to make their position known.
Cllr Browne said: “The destruction of the refugee camp in Calais has exposed the number of child refugees there, and drawn attention to the number of in-danger refugee children across Europe. According to reports there are 10,000 such unaccompanied children in Europe.”
“For a State that claims to be a great place for families and children, you’d think we could show a little caring and accept 200 children. This failure to offer support is frustrating. Instead the Government is claiming that a legal technicality will prevent this.”
“That’s unacceptable. There were an estimated 1,500 unaccompanied children living in containers in the camp. The last shelter was torn down on Monday, and those minors now need homes.”
“Mary Lou McDonald raised this matter in the Dail last week. The leftist opposition are preparing to table a motion. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has called for this gesture of kindness to be made; and the response from our Government is to point out a technicality.”
“If one of our Ministers saw a child in trouble on the side of a road would they fail to act because of a technicality? If they saw a child homeless, hungry and in danger would they fail to act? It certainly seems so.”
“As a State that effectively raises it’s own children for export you’d think we’d at least seize the opportunity to show that we care about children. This is such an opportunity, but sadly officialdom has found a reason not to act. The technicality is merely that the refugee camp isn’t ‘official’, unlike those on Greek islands. By their nature refugee camps are not always going to be official. But the refugees are as real and official as any other people, and in the case of unaccompanied minors they are in real and official danger.”
“Last week there was discussion on this on TippFM and the responses were mixed. But how many listeners there would turn their backs on a child in need? In a country where so many people are crying out for a chance to foster or adopt we could view this as an opportunity.”
“I call now upon the five TD’s in Tipperary to state their position. I’d like each of them to pick up a phone and publicly state their support for taking 200 children, or to have the courage to explain why they don’t.”

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