Policy Briefing 5: Meeting the Needs of Refugee and Asylum Seeking Children in Ireland
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.