Archive for Irish Red Cross

Accommodation Not Wanted

Posted in Biographical, Maynooth with tags , , on April 6, 2022 by telescoper

A month ago I posted an item about the fact that I had offered the spare room in my house as accommodation for a refugee from the War in Ukraine. Over 20,000 refugees have now arrived in Ireland but I have just been told that the accommodation I offered is not suitable. That’s mainly because the greatest need is for homes suitable for families with children rather than single persons; I only have one room and it doesn’t have en suite facilities. Also most of the refugees are female and the assessors would probably be nervous about placing a woman in a house with a strange man like me.

I feel slightly less bad about this than I might have done before reading that only about 40-50% of the accommodation pledged to the Irish Red Cross has been assessed as suitable.

I also note that a number of host families are finding the job of providing accommodation to often traumatized people very difficult and many refugees have been returned to processing centres because the hosts are unable to cope. I might well have ended up feeling the same.

Anyway, at least I offered. I would have felt bad if I hadn’t. Now I’ll just have to try to find some other way to help…

Offering Refuge

Posted in Biographical, LGBT, Maynooth, Politics with tags , , on March 6, 2022 by telescoper

As the humanitarian consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine unfold, Ireland expects something like 20,000 refugees to arrive many of whom will require accommodation. Around 1300 have arrived in Ireland so far, but these have mainly been taken in by Ukrainian family members and friends already in Ireland.

(The number of Ukrainian refugees so far accepted into the UK is just 50.)

We had a Department Meeting on Friday which began with a minute’s silence for the dead, the bereaved and all those suffering in ways we can’t even begin to imagine as a result of Russia’s heinous crimes in Ukraine. As I stood in silence I felt frustration at the smallness of the gesture; that feeling wasn’t at all assuaged by making a donation to the Irish Red Cross appeal later that evening.

When I learnt that the Irish Red Cross has launched an appeal for emergency accommodation I saw the chance to do something practical. I have a spare room, which I decided to register as potential accommodation for a refugee. It’s quite a small bedroom but can be made available very quickly once I’ve moved a few things out and given it a clean. At least the bed is quite comfortable: I know because I slept in it for several weeks before my new bed arrived. Of course if anyone comes they can have the run of the rest of the house.

Pledging accommodation in this way is not a trivial process. The property and the host have to be vetted to check that nothing nefarious is going on. I expect I’ll be contacted next week for this purpose and if my pledge is accepted and an appropriate individual found, a case officer will be assigned to ensure everything is going OK. There’s no guarantee my offer will be accepted, though. I’ll just have to wait and see.

As a single adult it would obviously be more appropriate to host another single adult. It crossed my mind that an offer of accommodation in a university town such as Maynooth might enable a student or academic from Ukraine to continue their studies in some way, but I’m not going to limit the range of possible people to that. I can offer an LGBT+ friendly environment too if that is important to anyone.

I’ve lived alone for quite a long time now so it is not without apprehension that I registered this pledge. I can see that there may be many difficulties, but they would be as nothing compared to the difficulties facing the Ukrainian people right now. I feel it’s the least I could do.

I am glad that, within the European Union, Ireland is playing its part in the response to the Ukraine crisis. When I look across the Irish Sea at the United Kingdom’s callous indifference to refugees alongside its half-hearted implementation of sanctions on Putin’s evil regime, I am once more glad I no longer live in a country with such a corrupt and mean-spirited Government.