Ballaghaderreen refugees ‘frustrated’ at year’s wait for housing

Three Ballaghaderreen-based refugees have spoken of their disappointment at their long wait to receive permanent accommodation.

The Department of Justice targets that Syrians spend only six months in emergency reception and orientation centres (Eroc), but many have spent twice as long in the Abbeyfield Hotel Eroc.

Ahmad Alyousef was in the first group to arrive at the centre, exactly a year ago tomorrow.

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He studied applied chemistry in university in Aleppo before being fleeing war-worn Syria.

He hasn’t seen his wife and two children in more than two years – his daughter was only two months old when he left Syria and no longer recognises him.

Alyousef says he can’t begin the process to be reunited with them until he receives permanent accommodation.

A council house has been identified for him in Carlow, but he awaits confirmation.

He accepts the department is doing its best to accommodate him, but is disappointed with the long wait.

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Two others Syrian refugees based in Ballaghaderreen for a year have expressed similar feelings, but declined to comment publicly.

In correspondence to refugees, the department says ideally clients should spend less than six months in an Eroc, but periods of longer than this are currently commonplace.

But it says this is changing rapidly as more housing stock comes on stream, so time spent in Erocs should begin to decline and new arrivals should receive an earlier resettlement.

The department has not yet responded to requests for comment.