Minister Fitzgerald, Don’t Leave Them Stranded
“I keep thinking about my mother. I am going crazy.” – Omar, Greece 
On June 11th, the Director of the Greek Asylum Service tweeted that they had no room left for 35 separated and unaccompanied children stranded in Greece.  Imagine what these children are going through – completely separated from their families, stuck in a strange country, and having just survived the terrifying and deadly journey across the Mediterranean. 
We may not be able to help the thousands of refugee children separated from their families, but we can help these 35 children who need urgent refuge. Frances Fitzgerald, the Minister for Justice, has said that she wants to prioritise unaccompanied children.  But we know from experience that the government won’t do anything unless they know it’s what the public want.
Frances Fitzgerald says she is proud of Ireland’s record when it comes to supporting unaccompanied and separated children  Yet not one single unaccompanied child has been brought to safety since she committed to make this a priority last year.  This is shocking considering she promised that Ireland would be a ‘welcome haven’. 
Right now it’s estimated that 10% of the 22,000 refugee children stranded in Greece are unaccompanied or separated children.  They are at extreme risk – thousands have already disappeared without trace. 
Last September, in response the largest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, Uplift members were moved to do something amazing. Together, we forced the government to change its mind on the number of refugees allowed come to Ireland.