Kenny, B. (2000). Policy Briefing 5: Meeting the Needs of Refugee and Asylum Seeking Children in Ireland. https://knowledge.barnardos.ie/handle/20.500.13085/862
Ireland has experienced a massive increase in the number of refugees and asylum
seekers arriving here within the past five years. This phenomenon has stretched the
capacity of our system for the processing of applications for refugee status, generated a
high level of controversy and debate, and revealed some, perhaps uncomfortable, truths
about Irish society.
For all of this focus on refugees and asylum seekers, however, the absence of any real
attention on the experience and needs of those who are children has been quite stark.
Among the many applicants for refugee status — in 1999, for example, there were 7,724
applicants — are a significant number of dependent children. All have experienced the
trauma of being uprooted from their homes and communities, many have experienced
famine, violence, war and persecution. They must be amongst the most traumatised and
vulnerable children in our community. For a country that has long been touched by
images of children as victims of trauma and tragedy in the developing world, the
invisibility of their number and plight in the Ireland of today should disturb us. Their
presence here, after all, gives us an opportunity to provide much more substantial
support than is possible when they are on the other side of the world.
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