O'Donnell opens housing for refugees conference
Liz O'Donnell , Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs today
(May 1) officially opened a conference entitled “Housing and Refugees: A New Challenge” organised by the Clann Housing Association.
Addressing the conference at Dublin Castle, Minister O'Donnell spoke of the challenges facing the Government and society in ensuring that all appropriate assistance is given to facilitate the integration into Irish society persons granted refugee status or leave to remain in the State on humanitarian grounds.
The Minister praised the work of the Clann Housing Association for the very valuable and unique contribution it has made in response to the housing needs of refugees.
“Access to housing is particularly difficult for refugee households due to language barriers, lack of information, limited income and the pressure on the housing market in recent years”, Minister O'Donnell said.
“These people have to be housed, fed, looked after, their educational and medical needs met and I hope that we have managed from humble beginning in a challenging environment to respond as best we can to the needs of these individuals and families”, the Minister added
The Minister noted in particular that the voluntary housing associations, because of the flexibility of the arrangements, lent themselves to tackling the challenge of meeting the varying housing needs including refugees and praised the work of the voluntary sector for reaching an output of over 1,250 units last year – the highest ever recorded.