By Sabrine Donohoe
Concern Chief Brid Kennedy praised Ireland’s contribution to the Syrian crisis at a Dail Committee meeting today.
Kennedy, Regional Director of Concern, was responding to Fianna Fail TD Niall Collins and Fine Gael TD Sean Crowe, who questioned the ability of Ireland as a “small country” to influence change in Syria.
Head of Ethics and Compliance at Goal Mary Van Lieshout commended Ireland as one of the top 20 donors in humanitarian aid to Syria.
Van Lieshout claimed that Goal is supporting people in the Syrian district of Azaz, but not yet to other parts of Syria.
The Committee board suggested that Ireland meet its target of taking in 4000 Syrian refugees and use its influence in Brussels to push the UN to engage with the government in Syria.
Senetor Ivana Bacik said however that Assad has had a “de-facto victory”, with the “aspirations for support no longer tenable” after Russian and Iranian intervention.
Kennedy claimed later on that Concern would do more for Syrians to support themselves by re-building agricultural and business in Syria.
Women in “bread-winning situations” whose husbands may have passed away or otherwise will be a key focus of the charity.
Independent TD Maureen O’ Sullivan emphasised the resilience of Syrian refugees in rehabilitating to their hometowns after the destruction they suffered.
O’ Sullivan, called on all parties to hold accountability for the war crimes Syria has endured.
Ireland committed to accepting 2622 refugees in 2015, but has accepted 1022 Syrian refugees from Greece as of December 2018.
More than 5.6 million Syrians have fled their country since the civil war began in 2011, according to UNHCR figures from last year.