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Refugees from Syria to be in place by year end

Story by Brian O Loughlin

Thursday, 12th October, 2017 1:15pm

Refugees from Syria to be in place by year end

Council Buildings in Mullingar.

Refugee families from Syria are expected to be in place in Mullingar by the end of this year, according to the county council.

A statement released last week also said that a number of families who are being housed in Mullingar have not yet arrived.

The statement continued: “The council are working with the Department of Justice and Equality and the timeline for the families to arrive in Athlone remains the first half of 2018.”

Initially, the council indicated that the refugees, 10 to 12 different families, coming from the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) camps in Lebanon, would be resettled Athlone by this December.

However, it now seems that the middle of next year is a more accurate timeline for their move.

Although asked if housing has been arranged in both Mullingar and Athlone, the council statement only addressed the Mullingar situation.

A resettlement worker has been employed via Westmeath Community Development Ltd, based at their offices in Clonmore Industrial Estate, Mullingar.

She is Maria Duffy and she has responsibility in linking in families in both Athlone and Mullingar. Earlier this summer she put out an appeal for “family befrienders” for the new arrivals. It’s thought a similar call will be made for Athlone once their arrival date nears.

The families destined for Westmeath are part of approximately 4,000 people which the government has committed to receiving through the Irish Refugee Protection Programme.

According to UNHCR, 4.8 million have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq, and 6.6 million are internally displaced within Syria. More than one million are housed in makeshift camps in Lebanon.

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