Report from the Unitarian
Refugee Welcome Committee

Since the temporary suspension in mid-March of the UNHCR international resettlement of refugees, and subsequently, the pause in the Community Sponsorship (C.S.) programme, the committee has kept in frequent contact with the Irish Refugee Council (I.R.C.). The latest development is that 227 refugees in Lebanon, all Syrian families, have been interviewed and selected for resettlement in Ireland. This of course can only happen once Covid-19 travel restrictions are lifted, and a plan is in place for quarantine on arrival. It is however a possibility that these families may be cleared for travel as early as this Autumn. This of course means that our search for accommodation, preferably with a benevolent landlord, will recommence.
          We in the committee are working away in the background to prepare for the day when we are informed that our Syrian family are cleared for travel. Some members of the committee have taken part in online training with the I.R.C. We have also had the pleasure of meeting other C.S. groups online to share ideas and experiences and we are working on resettlement plans and a welcome pack for our family.
          We have had to take a step back from where we were in early March with a house ready and all funding in place. As you will know, that house was given to a homeless refugee family already living in Ireland and they are well settled in now. We also agreed to use some of the funds, through the I.R.C., to help people coming out of direct provision during the first couple of months of the Covid 19 pandemic. It was agreed with the Managing Committee of the Church earlier in the year that September would be designated Refugee Month in our Church. While we realise that physical attendance numbers are limited in the Church, we are planning another envelope collection for the first Sunday in September and we will also have a charity collection on the last Sunday in September. If you cannot attend the Church, we request that you consider giving a donation through online banking to our bank account, details as follows:-

Account Name: Unitarian Refugee Welcome Committee

IBAN No : IE71 BOFI 90135184435967


Bank: Bank of Ireland, Montrose.

For those of you that are interested below is a link to some short excerpts from a BBC documentary about Rouaa, a young girl from Syria and her journey to the U.K. from a refugee camp in Lebanon.

More than 200 Syrian refugees currently living in Beirut have been cleared to travel to Ireland once Covid-19 travel restrictions are lifted, the head of the Irish Refugee Protection programme (IRPP) has said.
          Speaking as part of a webinar on the national statuses of migrants in Ireland and the European Union, IRPP director Eibhlin Byrne said 227 people in Lebanon all Syrian families had been interviewed and selected for resettlement in Ireland.
          An Irish mission travelled to the Lebanese capital in early 2020 with a view to selecting around 400 people for resettlement. The mission was cut short by the outbreak of the coronavirus and Irish officials conducting interviews in Beirut flew home.
          However, before leaving, the team had already selected a group of Syrian families who will travel to Ireland once restrictions have been lifted. Its understood the families will not travel until after the now required two-week quarantine period is lifted.
          The selection of families for resettlement is part of the second phase of the IRPP which was announced last December and commits to welcoming up to 2,900 Syrian refugees into Ireland between 2020 and 2023.
          The Government committed in September 2015 to accept 4,000 people into the country as part of the first phase of the IRPP and in response to the Mediterranean migrant crisis. Some 3,788 people had arrived in Ireland by December 2019 when phase one closed.

Refugee Committee
Dublin Unitarian Church