The Bishop of Elphin, Dr Kevin Doran, has spoken about about the viable options that the diocese has at its disposal to take and house refugees who are flooding into Europe in their thousands.
He was responding to a call from the Vatican for parishes throughout Europe to take in and house those displaced by the war in Syria.
Bishop Doran spoke of how Elphin, and Sligo, through his predecessor Bishop Dominic Conway, took in migrants from Vietnam and Cambodia in the 70’s and 80’s following the end of the Vietnam War.
“I know the building that he (Bishop Conway) housed them (the Vietnamese) in is actually in the backyard of my house. Unfortunately it has not worn well. It is not a suitable location at the moment,” the bishop said.
Despite this, he is adamant that there are alternative, suitable accommodations throughout the parishes of Elphin.
“Some of our parishes have spare houses arising from the fact that in parishes there used to be two priests and now there is only one. That is just one possibility.
“As well as that I am also looking at where in some parishes there may be an elderly relative who may have passed way which would leave a granny flat or a house next door that is not being used.”
The idea of camps or temporary accommodations which now house many of the migrants in countries such as Hungary and Germany, would not be ideal, according to Bishop Doran.
“In this case the hope would be for many of those migrants that in the future they would go back to living in their country at some point. Sometimes this can take a long time but in the meantime you do not want them to be living on a shelf in the meantime,” he said. The bishop feels that it is an issue which transcends religion or denomination.
“Denomination or religion should not come into to this. It is a human issue and it is the family of humanity. I think in that respect I would hope that Ireland has moved on and we can live next door to people and have people in our community while respecting one another’s differences,” he commented.
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