Local forums will be created to harmonize the community response to war refugees

Forums to coordinate the community response to the arrival of Ukrainian refugees should be established in each local authority across the country.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien and Social Care Minister Heather Humphreys will announce the move today.

Local groups and volunteers have mobilized in recent weeks to welcome people fleeing Ukraine.

As new arrivals begin to settle in cities and towns across the country, local authorities have begun to deploy community and volunteer response coordination points in their particular region. These will now be formalized and extended to all regions of the country.

Minister Humphreys said local forums worked very well during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic and provided a model for a similar response with refugees.

She pointed out that local groups and administrators were best placed to put in place arrangements to help newcomers get services.

“Across government, we are doing everything we can to help Ukrainian nationals who have fled this devastating war,” she said. “This grassroots approach is a key part of our global efforts and will be so important in the weeks and months to come.”

Ministers have written to local authorities setting out standard arrangements to be put in place in each area.

Based on “very effective” structures and relationships, each forum will enable all the players involved to work together under the supervision of the local community. Complementing the supports and services provided locally by government agencies, their goal will be to ensure effective communication and information sharing so that community supports can be effectively deployed to Ukrainians who have arrived here.

Minister O’Brien said local authorities were “once again stepping in” to lead the local response in what is “a very complex and rapidly changing situation”.

Each forum will seek to tap into the goodwill and support available within communities, including resources from the charitable and voluntary sector.

The forums in each zone will also manage offers of assistance in order to meet the often complex needs of newcomers.

Deputy Minister for Local Government and Planning Peter Burke TD added that the cathaoirleach or mayor of each local authority will lead the forum, which will also include recent arrivals from Ukraine here, ensuring they are fully involved. .

Harry L. Blanchard