Social Democrats TD for Wicklow and spokesperson on Children, Equality and Integration, Jennifer Whitmore, has described Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Greece as “wholly inadequate”.

Deputy Whitmore said:

“Greece is seeking emergency humanitarian intervention from EU countries after a fire in the Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesvos left children and families without shelter, protection and access to basic services.

“In the Dáil today, the Taoiseach confirmed Ireland’s intention to take in a total of four unaccompanied minors as our response to this humanitarian crisis.

“While I am glad that discussions have started with EU countries to take in over 400 vulnerable children left devastated by the fire, Ireland’s response is disappointing and wholly inadequate.

“I expected much more from our Government. Ireland should be in a position to help many more of those caught up in this human catastrophe, especially when you consider that 10 other EU countries have agreed to take in over 400 unaccompanied minors.

“Our efforts pale in comparison. Ireland is a well-resourced country and should be in a position to do more in its response to this humanitarian crisis.

“We must also respond quickly as the situation worsens for refugees affected by the fire. These children cannot be left in this vulnerable position for any length of time. I am urging the Taoiseach, the Minister for EU Affairs and the Minister for Children to increase this number and act quickly as terms are negotiated between EU states.

“In the meantime, I will be making representations to the various ministers in an effort to include a greater number of children who are desperately seeking help at this most difficult time.”

September 15, 2020

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