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November 18, 2015
Family Resource Centre National Forum calling for integrated national response to Syrian refugee crisis


Wednesday, 18th November 2015

Family Resource Centre National Forum calling for integrated national response to Syrian refugee crisis

The Family Resource Centre National Forum (FRCNF), representing all 109 Family Resource Centres, held a conference in Athlone yesterday (17.11.2015) examining the ways in which Family Resource Centres (FRCs) are to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis.

Speakers at the conference included The Community Workers’ Co-Operative, Monaghan County Council, and Doras Luimní, a support organisation for migrant families. Also speaking at the conference was Maner Cherbatji, a voluntary board member in Ballyhaunis Family Resource Centre, who shared her story as a Syrian woman coming to Ireland over twenty years ago.

The conference called on the Government to introduce comprehensive preparation plans in advance of the resettlement of the refugees. This preparation should include:

  • Ensuring that the FRCNF are represented on the recently established Tusla Refugee Committee and at all consultation levels relating to the refugee crisis.
  • For every 10 refugee families there will be one resettlement / family support worker.
  • Information sharing and briefings for public-facing service providers who will be working closely with the refugees.
  • The implementation of adequate language services to deal with language barriers.
  • Improving the infrastructure in rural areas, in particular transport, in advance of the refugees’ arrival.
  • The implementation of long-term supports to deal with mental health issues among the refugees caused by their ordeals.

Commenting at the conference, Karin Jonsson, Chairperson of the Family Resource Centre National Forum, said, “The Family Resource Centres, as locally based family support programmes, are best placed to provide grassroots responses to meet the needs of the refugee families. These families and individuals are fleeing war, torture and murder and have come to Ireland for safety. It is imperative that there is a national integrated structure to ensure that Irish communities are prepared for the arrival of the refugees so that they will be welcomed and become integrated into Irish society.

“Unfortunately, it is likely that the world will be facing more and more refugee crises, and long-term supports must be put in place now, before our current systems become overwhelmed. Funding will need to be ring-fenced to support the work of the Family Resource Centres in assisting the refugees, as we are already under pressure to continue providing our existing services.”

Monaghan County Council were highlighted as being one example of best practice in integrating refugees following on from the resettlement of Congolese refugees in Monaghan six years ago.


Contact: Emily Brennan, DHR Communications, 086-1658629 / 01-4200580.

About the Family Resource Centre National Forum:

The Family Resource Centre (FRC) programme is Ireland’s largest national community-based family support programme, with over 100 FRCs situated in communities throughout Ireland. Each FRC is led by its own Voluntary Board of Directors which aims to identify and address the specific needs of their local community.

The principal objectives of the FRC programme is to combat disadvantage, and to strengthen and empower children, families and communities. The programme involves local communities in addressing the issues they face, and creates meaningful partnerships for social change between voluntary and statutory agencies.

Evidence shows that offering wrap-around support is the best way to create and sustain resilience. FRCs do this by providing prevention and early intervention for the whole life-course.

The FRC programme is core-funded by Tusla – the Child and Family Agency.

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