'Saved the Day' | 

Ukraine Civil Society Forum thanks people of Kerry for kindness towards refugees

“We need everybody, working together, planning strategically, maintaining standards and never forgetting the people at the centre of this war whose world has been upended”.

Anthonina Khrystieva from Nikolaev, Ukraine, pictured with her baby Platon after the decision to move 135 Ukrainian women and children from Hotel Killarney to Mayo today has been reversed.

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

The Ukraine Civil Society Forum has thanked the people of Killarney following the Government’s reversal of a decision to relocate refugees from Kerry to Mayo.

Residents living at Hotel Killarney received a letter from the Department of Children and Equality on Monday afternoon saying that they were to be moved to a new location in Westport, Co Mayo.

It was reported that they were being moved from Hotel Killarney to accommodate almost 200 male asylum seekers seeking international protection in Ireland.

However, it emerged today that the 135 Ukrainian refugees in question – mainly women and children - will remain in Killarney and have moved to The Towers Hotel in the town.

This decision has been welcomed by the Ukraine Civil Society Forum, a coalition of civil society groups including the Irish Refugee Council and the Immigrant Council of Ireland, who said that Killarney residents “saved the day” by standing up for asylum seekers.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the initiative said: “For the families who have made Killarney a home for the past six months we offer our support and welcome today's announcement of a resolution.”

They said that the original decision to relocate refugees to Westport with less than 48 hours’ notice failed to consider the “impact on vulnerable women and children and a wider policy in relation to refugees”.

“Such a proposed move is retraumatising and would cause untold damage to the children. We need to ensure that this does not happen again.

“We must learn from Killarney. This is unfortunately not an isolated incident, and it should not be repeated. The people of Killarney and their representatives saved the day. We need that spirit.

“The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth is doing herculean work trying to find shelter for so many.

“We need everybody, working together, planning strategically, maintaining standards and never forgetting the people at the centre of this war whose world has been upended”.

The spokesperson added that long-term plans to accommodate refugees must be put in place as hotel rooms are simply “not suitable for families”.

“As a nation we can provide stable shelter so children can go to school and parents can work if we have medium term planning, humane systems and we support and resource local communities,” they said.


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