There appears to be chaos in Minister O’Gorman’s Department
The Children’s Minister must explain why 135 Ukrainian refugees were put through the anxiety and stress of being told their lives were being uprooted – only for the decision to be reversed at the last moment, according to Social Democrats Children’s Spokesperson Jennifer Whitmore.
“A group of 135 Ukrainian women and children were informed on Monday that they were being sent to Westport within 48 hours.
“In reaching this decision, no consideration seems to have been given for the fact that these vulnerable people had put down in roots in the community. 40 of the children were enrolled in local schools and many of the women had found jobs, including in the hotel they were staying.
“Yesterday, in media interviews, the Minister was adamant that this decision could not be reversed. He said there was no other option, because of accommodation constraints, but to move these refugees at short notice.
“Today, it transpires that alternative accommodation has been found and the Ukrainian refugees can stay in Kerry. Clearly this is welcome, but it raises serious questions for the Minister and his Department.
“Most importantly, why were these families put through the anxiety and stress of being told their lives were being uprooted? Further, how exhaustive was the search for alternative accommodation, given new accommodation is now suddenly available?
“The media has reported the u-turn was made after Minister O’Gorman held discussions with Education Minister Norma Foley, who happens to be from Kerry. Is it the case that Ukrainian refugees need a Minister, who hails from the area they are living in, to fight their corner in cases like this?
“I have previously asked for a whole-of-government response to the Ukrainian crisis and regrettably there is still no evidence of that. Instead, there appears to be chaos in Minister O’Gorman’s Department which has been tasked with the sole responsibility of responding to this unprecedented situation.”
October 12, 2022