Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence John Brady TD has called for the EU to live up to its responsibilities towards asylum seekers at the Moria Reception Centre on the Greek Island of Lesbos, which has been destroyed by fire.
Deputy Brady said:
“What has happened at the Moria Reception Centre is a humanitarian disaster. It was a disaster that was avoidable.
“We had a situation where 12,000 asylum seekers were left sitting in slum like conditions, and ignored by the member states of the EU, including Ireland. They were left in overcrowded, inappropriate accommodation, without proper sanitary conditions.
“Now following the fire, the asylum seekers, many of whom are children, are now left stranded, and in need of urgent humanitarian and medical aid.
“While the Greek authorities are intent on rebuilding the camp, this is not the solution. The only lasting solution is the development of a comprehensive EU strategy on immigration, and the redistribution of those asylum seekers stranded at Moria to member states.
“The problem is currently compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic. With the whole camp in quarantine, this is exposing everyone at the reception centre to the risk of infection.
“We need to see the immediate introduction of a systematic approach to the testing of both asylum seekers and locals on the island. Those affected must be protected from the virus and the elements.
“What was a preventable disaster now represents a major challenge to the Greek authorities, and the EU. The Irish government must play its role.
“The disaster at the Moria Reception Centre is a European problem and requires a solution that involves all of the member states taking responsibility for the distribution of the affected asylum seekers throughout the member states.”