18 families due to arrive
Sinn Féin TD Claire Kerrane has met with Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman to make the case for additional resources for Ballaghaderreen following confirmation that 18 families will come to the town under International Protection.
These families will join Syrian, Ukrainian and Afghani refugees already accommodated in the west Roscommon town.
Speaking following her meeting with Minister O’Gorman, Deputy Kerrane said she was mindful of the extremely difficult circumstances the families were fleeing from but added that additional Government supports have not been forthcoming for Ballaghaderreen.
“Few need to be reminded that Ballaghaderreen welcomed refugees as far back as 2017 and that generosity was not matched by Government action. The additional resources that were needed were not provided. I recall a commitment made at the time that a healthcare professional would be on site at the EROC in Ballaghaderreen. This did not happen. People here haven’t forgotten that,” she said.
Deputy Kerrane said she had made it clear to the Minister the “very real challenges” faced by people currently living in Ballaghaderreen.
“The impact of the 2008 recession is still being felt and in many ways, the town is yet to recover. It is important that the Minister understands this context.
“I also made it clear that additional resources for the town, particularly around healthcare, are needed – and needed urgently,” she said.
“The needs of those arriving and who have already arrived in terms of those residing in the EROC should be met but equally, so too must the needs of the town”.
The Sinn Féin TD called for a healthcare professional and a community nurse to be installed at the Emergency Reception and Orientation Centre at the old Abbeyfield Hotel in Ballaghaderreen.
“I want to see additional funding for the Family Resource Centre who are on the front-line in supporting many families in the town and surrounding areas”.
Deputy Kerrane added that schools outside the town accommodating new enrolments must be consulted on additional supports needed and “not expected to cater for more children out of existing (limited) resources”.
“We also need to see the return of the Community Welfare Officer to the Health Centre and the possibility of funding (with consultation) for sports and community groups for the provision of greater amenities for everyone in the town,” she said.
Deputy Kerrane said she will remain in direct communication with Minister O’Gorman and will “accept nothing less” than delivery on what is required.