Bishop McGuckian: Pray for Afghanistan - Ireland must do more for forcibly displaced people

The Bishop of Raphoe Alan McGuckian says Ireland should consider accepting more refugees from Afghanistan as a policy priority.

Thursday, 19th August 2021, 11:48 am
Many people have been displaced by the turmoil in Afghanistan.

He welcomed Ireland’s intervention at the UN Security Council on the crisis in Afghanistan, and appealed for safe and reliable humanitarian access for its people.

He said the Government's promise to accept 150 refugees under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme was positive.

But he said Ireland should consider accepting more.

Bishop McGuckian said: “Ireland, as one of the wealthier nations of the world, must do more for forcibly displaced people in terms of welcome and integration through State and community supports. Yes, our hearts are deeply moved by the panicked scenes of people fleeing, but it should not take such scenes and circumstances to force governments to act.

“According to the UNHCR, at the end of 2020 there were 82.4m forcibly displaced people worldwide. Yet 85% of these are being looked after in the least wealthy nations, with only 15% being accommodated in the wealthier countries of the world, including Ireland. What does this say to us about solidarity and fraternity in our world today?”

The Donegal bishop said the unfolding crisis presents Ireland with another opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to the protection of human rights.

This includes 'access to education for all, and to welcome the stranger among us'.

"As Pope Francis reminds us, we are called to respond to such challenges with four actions: welcome, protect, promote and integrate.

“I ask people to pray for the safe protection of the people of Afghanistan and other war-torn regions of the world. In the interest of justice and peace, refugees should be welcomed and integrated in our communities. The values of our Irish faith tradition teach us that outreach, encounter and authentic dialogue can bring the true peace that the world needs at this time.”