- Translators essential to integration
- Generosity of Clare people to be commended
Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling for increased supports to be put in place for Clare’s Ukrainian school population as a matter of priority.
Hundreds of displaced Ukrainians have taken up residence in the county, with more expected, and voluntary groups and donations from members of the public have been hugely forthcoming – but more help is needed.
“Over the past fortnight, I have visited most of the accommodation centres that are being used to house Ukrainian refugees in the county,” said Deputy Crowe.
“These people have come from very harrowing situations and are hugely appreciative of the warm welcome they’ve received from the people of Clare.
“It’s incredible to think that, on Census night 2022, 1.5% of Clare’s population – ordinarily 118,000 – are now Ukrainian nationals.
“In 100 years’ time, when people look back and study this period of our history, this will tell a lot about who we are as a people and how accommodating we were to our new Ukrainian friends.
“When I visited these accommodation centres, I took time to chat with the people there.
“Their stories were very similar and most spent days driving in their family car or taking public transport to flee eastwards through Lviv and across the Polish border.
“Most made this journey with just the shirt on their back and a small bag of belongings.
“In most of the accommodation centres in Clare, the Ukrainian people have been given clothing, both new and old, to wear but many have told me that they have a lack of quality footwear.
“This prompted me to go on social media asking people to consider donating shoes and runners for all ages, all sizes and all genders.
“I’m delighted to say that the response to this has been immense.
“Some have even donated football boots as a lot of the Ukrainian children want to partake in sport whilst they’re here in Ireland – others have donated cash vouchers for shops.
“I’ve also met with schools in the county who’ve been welcoming Ukrainian pupils and speaking directly to government on their behalf, in terms of trying to have additional supports sanctioned.
“Their main needs right now revolve around requirements of English as an Additional Language (EAL) teachers, translators and school transportation.
“Progress is being made but thus far translator posts haven’t been sanctioned.
“AS a former teacher, and as someone who has experience of teaching children from the direct provision system, I believe that a translation capacity is essential for all schools who have Ukrainian pupils.
“A translator could provide an invaluable home-school link and also provide much needed pastoral care for the children.”