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New Response Group Set Up In Laois To Support Ukrainian Arrivals

It'll be based on the Covid-19 Community Forum model.

A new forum is being established in Laois to support Ukrainian refugees arriving in the county. 

The Ukrainian Response Inter-Agency Working Group will operate similarly to the Covid-19 Community Forum.

It'll involve the HSE, Gardaí, local representatives, library services and other local amenities. 

Fine Gael's Thomasina Connell explains how it will work:

The Portlaoise councillor had proposed at yesterday's Laois County Council meeting "re-establish[ing] a modified grouping of our Community Response Forum to provide a streamlined approach to provide necessary essential services to the Ukrainian people seeking refuge in Co.
Laois."

She felt local authorities are best placed to do this "as they are familiar with the wide range of services in their local area and can deliver this information quickly and effectively."

"We, as a Council need to streamline these essential services where possible, being the provision of accommodation, medical care and education and deal with these issues expeditiously. Similarly, Laois County Council must immediately offer support for Ukrainians with English language support. They are permitted to work straight away and a co-ordinated approach with the Chamber of Commerce and Intreo would be beneficial.  

"We need a structured approach to this as we anticipate the number of Ukrainians arriving to increase, possibly dramatically increase in the coming
months.

Given the volumes of refugees arriving in Ireland and the uncertainty over how long they will be staying, Cllr. Connell suggested "re-establishing a modified grouping of our previous Covid Response Forum at this stage would centralise our response to this crisis and support and prioritise
those who have now arrived in Co. Laois."

She appealed to the Council to urgently dedicate resources to deal with this crisis and ringfence these for a period of upwards of six months.

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