Tuesday, 22 March 2022
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
341. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if the Government in conjunction with the local authorities will re-establish, support and resource the community response fora (details supplied) to maximise the integration of Ukrainian refugees into local communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14515/22]
355. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if he has considered reopening the community call in councils across Ireland to help in the coordination of donation and supports for Ukrainian refugees coming to Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14945/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 341 and 355 together.
As they did throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, local authorities will play a full and vital role in the national response to the humanitarian crisis created by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, particularly in helping to address the needs at local level of Ukrainian refugees who come to Ireland to escape the ongoing fighting.
During the pandemic, the Community Call initiative, led by local authorities, proved a key mechanism in identifying and meeting the practical needs of the most vulnerable people in our communities isolated and isolating in their homes.
It must be recognised that the needs of Ukrainian refugees coming to Ireland will be significantly different and more complex, and include accommodation, education, physical and mental health needs, as well as general integration of refugees into society. The re-establishment and re-purposing of the Community Response Fora and Community Call initiative can play an important role in coordinating the public, private and voluntary stakeholders active at a local level in providing the varied supports required and I am working with my colleague the Minister for Rural and Community Development to ensure that a range of suitable community supports are in place for Ukranian refugees as they arrive into this country.