Thursday, 14 July 2022
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
Refugee Resettlement Programme
On the tribute to the efforts of the Irish people and the outpouring of support and response, I will tell the Minister of State what happens when a volunteer group interfaces with one of the private, for-profit companies that are being brought in by IPAS to run certain reception centres and to protect the basic human rights and dignity of refugees. We have an amazing volunteer group of people in Swords who were working with a number of different reception centres and creating great links with the community of Ukrainians that have arrived. However, after a big public event to which everyone was invited at the Emmaus Centre just north of Swords, the company that runs it now, Allpro Services, has, in effect, frozen out the group of local volunteers. An atmosphere has been created in this reception centre, which was very positive at the start, whereby the advocates, the spokespeople and the Ukrainian people who were linking in with local volunteers have been ostracised, to the extent that one was removed on 16 June. I have made the Minister and the Department aware of it, and I have been in contact about it. It is the removal of Alexander Neeshkasha.
We cannot continue to rely on private facility management companies to come in and look after refugees. What happened there is that we had a positive situation where the local volunteers were able to go in, create links and bond the community early. They have now been frozen out and the advocates from the community who were working there have been splintered.
This company, Allpro Services, is operating in a manner over which none of us have any oversight. This is what will happen and it will become the norm if the State does not get a handle on it. We are not saying that it is easy, but the processes are so slack at the moment that this is what is happening. It is having a real, detrimental impact on those who are currently seeking refuge here.