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A Family Is Waiting’ To Call Carrigaline Home

Bid to find home to rent for refugee family.

Writes Leo McMahon

A re-settled refugee family is coming to Carrigaline shortly thanks to members of Carrigaline Welcome Project but in order to make this happen, a house is urgently needed for renting.

So stated Canon Elaine Murray of Carrigaline Union of Parishes and Fr Pat Fogarty PP, Carrigaline Parish, members of the project and first venture of the Carrigaline Ecumenical Project Team (CEPT) founded earlier this year.

It’s a truly community wide effort, not only involving fund raising or donations and people with skills prepared to offer their services, but everyone giving love and support to parents/guardians and children who have escaped the trauma of conflict and homelessness and are trying to rebuild their lives.

‘As faith communities, we’re always thinking of what we can do jointly and while chatting one morning earlier this year, we thought this would be a most effective way of doing something that would involve the wider community as well’, said Fr Pat.

Around the same time, said Canon Elaine, Nasc (Irish word for ‘link’), the free legal and advocacy service for migrant and refugee rights based in Cork, got in touch about providing a home and support for a re-settled refugee family under the Department of Justice and Equality’s Community Sponsorship Scheme.

Canon Elaine and Fr Pat made informal enquiries and following a joint parish meeting in Carrigaline Court Hotel in May addressed by Fiona Finn and Mari Bateson of Nasc, it was unanimously agreed to set about sponsoring a family for at least two years. So began CEPT’s Carrigaline Welcome Project whose members are: Canon Elaine, Fr Pat, SrAnne Coffey, Margaret Dineen, Hazel Fleury, Finola McCarthy, Rowland Newenham, Eleanora O’Keeffe, Joceyln PIERCE, Cecil Poole, Pauline Tallon Collins, Janet Twomey and Willie Walsh.

CEPT was formally recognised as a Community Sponsorship Group by the Department of Justice and Equality on August 12th and since then, its members have gone through the lengthy process of Garda vetting and also a Diversity and Cultural Awareness training day under the auspices of regional support organisation Nasc at St Mary’s Church of Ireland Hall.

‘As a group we are committed to raising €10,000, of which €2,000 can be in kind – as well as finding the family a home, so we would love as much support as possible.’, said Canon Elaine.

In that regard, CEPT’s Carrigaline Welcome Project has come up with the following fund raisers:

  1. Beautiful and evocative Gift Cards entitled ‘A Family is Waiting’, kindly designed by artist Ruth Mahony and printed by KWP, Carrigaline which are available in the Parish Centre beside Our Lady and St John’s Church and the Parish Office beside St Mary’s Church, Carrigaline, priced €10 each.

  2. The annual ecumenical Community Carols Service at 7.30pm on Sunday, December 15thin St Mary’s Church, Church Road, Carrigaline.

  3. A Whist Night on Saturday, January 18thin St Mary’s National School, Waterpark, Carrigaline.

  4. A Table Quiz in the GAA pavilion on a date to be confirmed in February.

  5. Make a donation by clicking on the GoFundMe link.…

‘In addition to providing a home to rent for a refugee family, the group is fully committed to assisting family members to register with schools, doctors and social services and to help them to integrate, make friends and be fully part of our lovely community,’ said Canon Elaine who, along with Fr Pat explained that while the areas they serve are extensive, the town of Carrigaline with so many services close at hand, is clearly the best location for its prospective newcomers.

Once acquired by CEPT, a refugee family size home in Carrigaline that suits will be assigned, hopefully in early 2020. As with anyone in receipt of social welfare supports in Ireland, the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) will apply to enable the family to rent their home in the private sector.

If anyone knows of a suitable house, or if you’d like to help Carrigaline Welcome Project with fundraising, or have any ideas/thoughts that you think might help, do get in touch with Fr. Pat Fogarty 087-6608758 or Canon Elaine Murray 087-2363100 or check out the Carrigaline Welcome Project Facebook page which contains the GoFundMe link.

Both Canon Elaine and Fr Pat are agreed that it’s very good having both church communities working together on such a worthwhile project that’s open to all the community to support, just as they do at Easter, Christmas, Harvest time and other events.

As Fr Pat, who served for nine years in the Cork and Ross Diocesan Mission in South America and Canon Elaine, who worked for ten years in the Netherlands will testify, living away from home can be a lonely experience. For a refugee family in fear and not knowing where they will end up is so much worse so how very important is it for our people – no strangers to migration – to continue to the tradition of ‘Ireland of the Welcomes’. For the group to be told shortly that a house for rent will become available in Carrigaline would joyously illustrate the real meaning of Christmas and remind us that ‘we’re all family’.

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