Respond Support- Supporting the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP)

Conflicts in Syria and Iraq have led to what has been described as the worst humanitarian crisis of our time, with more than 11 million people having been displaced or killed. As a result, approximately 5.5 million people have crossed borders seeking refuge and safety. As fighting continues, there appears to be no end in sight. The international community has a responsibility to provide a humanitarian response to this crisis. Further to a decision made in 2015 by the European Commission for member states, to admit refugees as part of the UNHCR Resettlement Programme, the Irish Government has committed to receiving approximately 4,000 people fleeing from Syria through the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, established by the Irish Government in September 2015.

People have been arriving into Ireland under the programme since January 2016. Resettlement involves the selection and transfer of refugees from a State in which they have sought protection, to a third State (such as Ireland) which has agreed to welcome them. The Irish UNHCR-led resettlement programme is coordinated by the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration (OPMI).  When families arrive in Ireland, they are initially accommodated in Emergency Reception and Orientation Centres (EROCs) were they participate in a language and orientation programme organised by the Department of Justice and Equality, before being resettled into receiving counties. Persons who have arrived under the UNHCR Refugee Programme generally have the same rights as Irish citizens in relation to accessing services, including education, housing, health, social welfare and employment services.

Resettlement and Integration
“We will put in place all the necessary supports to ensure that those coming to Ireland can integrate, as well as helping them to overcome any trauma they endured on having to flee their home countries…Once in Ireland, these refugees will have access to vital health and education services. Our focus will be on helping them to rebuild their lives here in Ireland...”
Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD     

As one of the largest national community service providers in Ireland Respond Support, works to promote social inclusion, integration and self-sufficiency. We work closely with individuals and families, and the communities into which they have recently arrived, to assist them in their transition and resettlement. Working with individuals, families and communities, Respond Support works to ensure that our communities provide a welcoming safe haven for families and children who have been forced to leave their homes due to war or conflict. Partnering with Local Authorities, statutory & voluntary bodies, and the Dept. of Justice and Equality, we provide a range of Integration measures including English language training, interpreter, translation and community socialisation programmes.

Respond Support is currently the lead partner in supporting the resettlement of the UNHCR Programme Refugees in Counties Waterford, Kilkenny and Longford.


Dedicated Resettlement Support Workers and Intercultural Workers have been appointed to act as the central point of contact for both statutory and non-statutory agencies and the families. The role of the Resettlement Support Workers is to provide support to ensure that all individuals and families feel able to participate in community life through accessing local services, and to support and empower families to live independently.

The Resettlement Support Worker organises a suite of integration initiatives during the first year post arrival, such as the establishment of homework clubs, develops links with sporting clubs, promotes participation in local men’s and women’s activities, organises intercultural events and promotes participation in the arts and in volunteering at a local level.

 “Syria is the biggest humanitarian and refugee crisis of our time, a continuing cause of suffering for millions which should be garnering a groundswell of support around the world.” 
Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees

The Refugee Resettlement Programmes are steered and monitored by the local Interagency Resettlement Working Group. The Working Group includes representatives from mainstream service providers such as the Local Authority, HSE, ETB, An Garda Síochána, Department of Social Protection, Tusla, Department of Justice and Equality and the local County Childcare Committees.

The service providers come together to plan for and ensure that required services are available to the families at a local level. Respond Support provides a wide range of community services nationally including Early Year’s education, afterschool services, family support and day care centres for older people in 25 communities across Ireland.

For further information on our Refugee Resettlement services please contact:

National Manager of Specialist Services- David Parslow. Email address:

This project is co-financed by the European Commission under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund 2014-2020 and supported by the Department of Justice and Equality.