For Oral Answer on : 03/02/2022
Question Number(s): 131 Question Reference(s): 5284/22
Department: Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Children; Equality; Disability; Integration and Youth the current situation with respect to the private community sponsorship scheme; his plans to further expand the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
As the Deputy is aware, Community Sponsorship Ireland (CSI) is an alternative resettlement stream to the traditional state-centred model. The model seeks to allow groups in a community setting to support refugees arriving in a Community Sponsorship Group (CSG).
The Community Sponsorship Ireland model began as a pilot scheme in December 2018. Following this successful pilot, the Government launched the initiative nationally as a mainstream programme in 2019.
Since then, 20 families have settled across 20 different rural and urban communities throughout Ireland.
A further 36 Community Sponsorship groups are at various stages of development across 14 counties.
At the start of 2021, the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) commissioned four Regional Support Organisations (RSOs). They have the role to oversee the recruitment, support, coordination and training of Community Sponsorship groups across 7 regions throughout Ireland and to promote Community Sponsorship at a local level.
The formation of Community Sponsorship groups has been somewhat delayed by Covid-19. As the effects of the pandemic lessen and normal interactions begin throughout the country, the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) will be in a position to work more intensively with Regional Support Organisations and communities who wish to welcome refugees. The IRPP is currently working with communities and with Regional Support Organisations to use Community Sponsorship as an important means to support Afghan refugees, including judges, who have come to Ireland since August 2021.
I have no doubt that Community Sponsorship will continue to be an important strand in the resettlement of refugees and in their integration into Irish life and culture.