Amidst the unspeakable horror of war, the light of heroism and generosity shines through, reminding us of man’s innate goodness in the face of evil. The abundance of accommodation options in Ireland for Ukrainian families fleeing their country is extremely encouraging.
Irish generosity is confirmed by an opinion poll in our sister newspaper, The Sunday independentshowing that two-thirds of people believe Ireland should welcome 20,000 or more migrants Violence from Vladimir Putin’s invasion. Ireland has a strong tradition of welcoming those affected and we have a racist memory of suffering leading to an intrinsic empathy.
Everything indicates that this Russian invasion, day 12 today, will last for a long time. The pace of the Ukrainian population, understandably fleeing the invaders across their borders to neighboring states, is at a rate not seen since the dreaded years of World War II.
We could speak of more than five million displaced people within a very short time. Ireland is far from Ukraine’s immediate borders and the people who have come here so far are mainly relatives and friends of compatriots who are already resident here for work or study. Nevertheless, the incoming numbers are already stronger than expected. This could mean many more than the estimated 20,000 people could end up in Ireland before long.
At this stage it is too difficult to estimate the numbers. As of yesterday afternoon, the estimated number of Ukrainians arriving in Ireland was put at around 1,500 and officials suggested a further 5,000 people could arrive in the coming week.
Soon we will welcome people who are not yet connected to anyone in this country and present us all with a greater challenge. We’ve taken on challenges like this before and come through with flying colors, and there’s no reason this occasion should be any different.
But it poses a major challenge for any Irish authorities, who can be guaranteed public support and goodwill, to put programmed arrangements in place to support this Ukrainian population.
This certainly means using the will of the public to welcome Ukrainian migrants. But efforts must also be systematized to protect the rights and sensitivities of all concerned.
As all this excellent work continues, the aftermath of Europe’s biggest war since 1945 continues to pose challenges for the Irish people. Government needs to explore better options for energy supply and conservation, and there is an interesting program being discussed by Agriculture Secretary Charlie McConalogue to help farmers in their efforts to become more self-sufficient, particularly by growing more crops. We haven’t heard such thoughts since the emergency years when we had things like mandatory tillage. The country also badly needs a debate about our defense options and our stance of military neutrality, which many of our leaders are suggesting needs to be reconsidered.
We face busy times, but our duty to welcome refugees is paramount.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/our-duty-towards-incoming-refugees-is-paramount-41417722.html Our duty to incoming refugees is paramount