Longford to take in Syrian refugees

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Department of Justice logo

A special meeting of Longford County Council to discuss the anticipated arrival of a number of Syrian refugees to the county is set for this Friday

An estimated 40 to 60 Syrian refugees are to be resettled in Longford under the Government’s Irish Refugee Protection Programme.

The Leader has learned that a special ‘in committee’ meeting of Longford County Council is to take place on Friday where further details on the proposal will be revealed.

It’s not known when most or all of the refugees fleeing war torn Syria are expected to arrive in the county and if additional resources have been set aside to accommodate the move.

This newspaper also understands direct provision, essentially housing all refugees in the one location, is not being considered as part of the plan.

Instead, the focus will be on resettling the vast majority in predominantly larger urban communities across the county.

It’s understood talks between government officials and senior executives from Longford County Council over the plan were held in Dublin yesterday (Tuesday).

The Council, for its part, has confirmed that a special meeting, excluding the press, has been called for Friday.

“On the direction of the Cathaoirleach, a special 'In Committee' meeting of Longford County Council will be held next Friday (August 4) to discuss this issue,” a statement outlined this week.
“An update will be provided following the meeting on Friday.”

That pledge is one which has fuelled speculation that the Council only became aware of the measure in recent days.

A fortnight ago, the Leader asked the Council to comment on mounting conjecture Longford had been chosen to accommodate refugees following a Longford Westmeath Education and Training Board meeting held in Mullingar.

The Council responded on July 17 to say it had no “details of Syrian refugees coming to Longford”.
Two of the local authority’s elected members who sit on the ETB board, Cllrs Seamus Butler and Peggy Nolan said further insight would be provided on Friday.

Cllr Butler said it was important to stress Longford was not being singled out and was simply meeting its commitments to a much wider humanitarian crisis.