By Vatican News staff reporter
Bishop Denis Brennan of Ferns, the chair of the Irish Bishops’ Council for Immigrants, said he was “deeply saddened” to hear recent reports that plans to resettle children seeking refuge from the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos to Ireland have been further delayed.
The Irish Government had agreed to relocate 28 children in Ireland in the wake of the massive fire which engulfed the camp in September 2020.
Referring to the devastating fire which exacerbated the already cramped, unhygienic, and inhumane conditions in the camp, the Bishop said the commitment made by the Government to relocate the children from the Moria camp to Ireland was, “in the circumstances, good news.”
However, he also said, it represented “the bare minimum support and refuge that we should be offering, particularly to unaccompanied children who have suffered so much trauma in even their earliest years.”
The Bishop described the seven-month delay as “appalling,” adding, “For anyone, and especially for a child on their own, another day, another month living in fear in dire conditions in a refugee camp is another day of suffering and trauma that no one should have to endure.”
He also noted that Pope Francis has called “again and again on the international community to do more in the face of this devastating global reality of our time.”
A call to act decisively
The plan to bring the child refugees to Ireland had run into difficulties over concerns that a deployment of Irish Police (Garda) to Greece to do security checks on the refugees would be a breach of safety regulations relating to Covid-19.
Concluding his statement, Bishop Brennan called on the Irish Government “to act as quickly and decisively as possible in this case to bring these children to safety and shelter here in Ireland and to look at any way in which we can seek to accommodate more than a mere 28 unaccompanied minors. “In our own country,” he said, “where so many have emigrated seeking welcome on other shores, let us be generous in responding when we are asked to do the same for others.”