Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, has expressed his deep concern over reports from refugee camps on the Greek island of Lesbos, of the continuing hardship and suffering being endured by those held there.
Teachta Brady said:
“In September 2020, the refugee camp at Moria was destroyed by fire; which left 12,000 refugees without shelter. Since then it has been argued that if anything, conditions have actually deteriorated.
“In one of a number of camps on Lesbos, there are 7,000 refugees forced to share 36 showers. The conditions are, to say the least, wretched.
“I have received reports of one woman, driven beyond the edge of despair, who resorted to setting herself on fire in an act of desperation. For this she faced criminal charges for the damage caused by the fire.
“We have children as young as two years old self-harming.In one harrowing incident, an eight-year-old child attempted suicide.
“We need to remember though that what is happening to these refugees is a consequence of a politically driven policy, which the Irish government is complicit in.
“The strategy of the EU is that life for refugees in the camps is made so unendurable, so wretched, so deplorable that it will act as a deterrent, that the message will go out that from the camps, that any attempt to seek refuge, to seek safety, to escape the violence is doomed to failure.
“I acknowledge that the Irish government has agreed to take fifty refugees in family units and a smaller number of unaccompanied minors, but this is absolutely insufficient.
“The failure of the Irish government to act, its complicity in EU policy that sees these refugees housed in totally atrocious conditions has real consequences.
“People are suffering, people are dying. Families are being torn apart. The mental and physical toll on those that survive, particularly children is horrific.
“Ireland is a leading voice on the world stage, it is a member of the UN Security Council, and a key member of the EU. Yet their failure of these refugees is an indictment of this government. The government needs to step up and act.”