Family reunification vital part of resettlement of refugees – bishops

Urgent reform of the direct provision system needed to address existing barriers to integration

The bishops have called for the issue of family reunification to be an important part of the integration process in the Government’s response to the refugee crisis and for urgent reform of the direct provision system to address existing barriers to integration.

Calling on our political leaders to use their influence at EU level to minimise delays in getting vulnerable people to safety, the bishops said we “need clear leadership in the form of a renewed international commitment to the right to asylum” and that the “importance of family reunification to the integration process, and the responsibility to respect and protect family life, need to be highlighted in the discussions and negotiations”. 

The bishops said an important first step “must be to address existing barriers to integration for refugees and people seeking asylum who are already here” and that “urgent reform is required to avoid the creation of an unjust two-tier system” in which the needs of those who have been waiting for status for many years in the direct provision system could be overlooked.


In a statement issued today following the autumn general meeting of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the bishops highlighted the work of faith-based organisations such as the St Vincent de Paul and Trócaire in providing vital humanitarian assistance. They also encouraged parish communities “to explore how they might offer their services, talents, time and commitment to supporting the resettlement of refugees through practical parish actions such as friendship and welcome schemes”.

“The participation of local communities as partners in planning is vital to develop supports that will address the many needs of refugees and be sustainable for all involved,” the bishops’ statement said.