Today in Dáil Éireann, during Oral Questions with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, Deputy Tommy Broughan called on the Government to take a more proactive role in finding a peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict in Syria. The conflict in Syria is now in its sixth year and hundreds of thousands of people have died during the course of the civil war and countless others displaced. Most recently, the eastern part of the ancient city, Aleppo, has been, and is continuing to be, decimated with airstrikes.

Deputy Broughan questioned when the UN General Assembly will hold an emergency meeting to revoke the veto option of the Security Council in times of mass atrocities such as those which are occurring in Aleppo. Russia has vetoed resolutions to ban airstrikes a number of times now and seem to be seriously hindering any attempts of peaceful reconciliation and ceasefire. Deputy Broughan joined a number of other Deputies today in asking if the State can do more to help the people of Syria as well as on an international stage.

Deputy Broughan asked Minister Flanagan to take a much more proactive role through the EU’s stance on the International Syria Support Group and to meet the Foreign Ministers of Syria, Russia, the U.S, Britain and Saudi Arabia to urge the immediate ending of arms shipments to the warring parties in Syria and immediate resumption of a ceasefire in Aleppo and throughout Syria.

Deputy Broughan says “The Irish Refugee Council, this afternoon, gave an informative and impassioned briefing to Members of the Oireachtas. Some of the ideas put forward were in relation to alternative legal channels of migration and how Ireland could facilitate that. Ideas such as Humanitarian visas, academic sponsorship or even private sponsorship which has been so successful in Canada were suggested and I urged the Minister to discuss them with the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald urgently. To date, we have taken in just 1 unaccompanied minor. Given the numbers of children dying and being left orphaned by the atrocities in Syria, Ireland must take a leading role in providing a safe haven for those fleeing war-torn areas. We cannot continue to passively observe such horrors unfolding.”