Refugee Resettlement is a term used to describe the selection and transfer of refugees from a country of asylum to a third country which has agreed to admit them and in which refugees can permanently settle. People who participate in Refugee Resettlement are known as “programme refugees”. “Programme refugees” have been resettled to 29 different communities across Ireland to date.
Refugee Resettlement – Portlaoise
Portlaoise was selected as a Refugee Resettlement host community. In February 2015, Doras Luimní was successfully awarded the tender by Laois County Council to be the implementing agency of the Portlaoise Syrian Programme Refugee Resettlement Project. The Programme objectives were to support the reception and integration of 54 Syrian refugees resettled in Portlaoise: supporting refugees on a daily basis to access services appropriately, and building capacity both in the new arrivals and in the receiving community as the refugees adapt to their new life in Portlaoise. The Project was funded by the Office for Promotion of Migrant Integration (OPMI) and forms part of the Government commitment to its Resettlement strategy.
A dedicated full time Resettlement Worker was appointed and acted as the central co-ordination point for both statutory and non-statutory agencies and the families. Laois County Council generously provided a centrally located office in the town centre, which was the central hub of the Project and was officially opened in March 2015.
Resources & Templates
Staff designed and developed a range of resources and templates* to effectively and professionally deliver a high quality service. Some of the initial templates devised included the following:
- Welcome to Portlaoise Guide
- Resettlement, Integration and Capacity Building Map
- Individual Resettlement Plan
- Exit Handbook for Families
- Family Advocate Handbook
*We would be grateful if you could let us know if you are planning to adapt these templates to use in your own organisation/ work. If you have any other feedback or have any questions about this work, please contact us! The Project officially closed in June 2016 and most aspects of the Project have now been mainstreamed. We are fortunate to have at least 2 volunteers who will be able to continue to offer weekly Drop-in and signposting surgery from September 2016. We also have 13 Family Advocate Volunteers, who are continuing to provide support to families.
The Doras led Portlaoise Social Inclusion Network continues to meet monthly to ensure long term sustainability of integration and community initiatives locally. We are delighted that Laois Partnership will support this initiative with a wide range of other partners. For more information on Ireland’s refugee resettlement programme, including statistics and an outline of the process, visit the OPMI website at www.integration.ie (link to external site).