Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Questions (292)

John Curran


292. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps he is taking to address concerns in a new report by an organisation (details supplied) which shows refugee children need more mental health, integration and education supports here through the Irish refugee protection programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39868/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am aware of the recent report by the organisation referred to by the Deputy.  I am working closely with my colleagues, via a whole of Government approach, to deliver appropriate and inclusive supports for refugees who are resettled to Ireland under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP). 

In 2015, the Government established a cross-departmental Taskforce to implement the IRPP, which I chair.  The Task Force seeks to support the work of local authorities and other relevant bodies in undertaking refugee resettlement and integration initiatives. It includes representatives from a number of Government Departments,  An Garda Síochána, the HSE, Tusla the Irish Red Cross and the UNHCR.  

In addition, the Community Sponsorship Programme for the resettlement of refugees in Ireland involves cooperation between state and non-state stakeholders. The engagement of communities in the reception, resettlement and integration of refugees is recognised internationally as an effective approach towards contributing to the well-being of refugees and receiving communities. I would like to see more communities becoming involved in this initiative.  

In relation to supports for refugee children, among the specific supports provided are access to on-site psychologists, HSE mental health awareness through performance arts, access to childcare facilities and access to sports/athletics clubs and family outings. 

Question No. 293 answered with Question No. 248.