Council official addresses Oireachtas Committee on Integration and Refugees

Photo from Oireachtas Broadcasting

A lot more can be done to allay concerns of people in areas where asylum seekers and refugees are to be housed in Tipperary and across the country.

That was the message from a senior official with Tipperary County Council to an Oireachtas Joint Committee which discussed Integration and Refugee issues during a meeting in Leinster House.

Director of Services Sinead Carr told TDs and Senators that there has to be a balance between securing a suitable facility to house refugees and consulting with local residents.

However she said its probably more around information than consultation.

“I think it’s around trying to address stated fears that people have – whether its around security, around health or whether its around education because I do think communities need to be engaged with. I think the vast majority of people are reasonable in communities and I think what we’re allowing is a certain cohort to dictate what the message is.

“So I think when we get over that balance and when we have the facility – and the accommodation is the priority at the moment and we have to acknowledge that – but once we get over that I do think there has to be a process whereby there is engagement with the community and that we deal with genuine concerns.”

Sinead Carr also feels ensuring there are sufficient GPs and school places to cope with the influx of refugees and asylum seekers would ease the concerns of many people in Tipperary and across the country.

“If it is a case that there are issues around pinch points with GPs or with education that those relevant departments are coming on board and addressing and working with the community on those pinch points. And I think you’ll find that a significant proportion of the people will come along with us and we probably won’t be having the sort of significant pushback that we we’re having at the moment.”