Page 61 - Linkline Yearbook 2016
P. 61

  lt col kevin byrne, Vice president elect of cilT international, speaking at the Humanitarian logistics seminar in cork
  sean sherlock Td, minister of state in the department of Foreign a airs and gráinne lynch cmilT chairperson of the southern section committee
  people, plagued by war, terrorism and extremism. Winter
is upon us once again and there are even more people displaced in camps and on the road. People are driven away from their homes and they are taking enormous risks to survive. And they are not surviving. People are dying.
Direct insight into the logistical challenges in refugee camps was provided by Will Holden, Managing Director
of the Emergency Logistics Team (ELT). Will spoke expertly about the practical logistical challenges of delivering humanitarian assistance in refugee camps; mainly the following aspects: Distribution, Warehousing and storage, Safety and security, and Money. In Turkey, right on the border with Syria, millions of people live in temporary accommodation. For the most part it is well organised, but it is very complicated.
As a nation we can continue to support humanitarian aid, such as enabling our Defence Forces to take an active role
in search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean Sea. Lt. Cdr. Daniel Wall, captain of the LÉ Niamh explained how his ship and crew rescued 4,000 people from the water during their mission from July to September 2015. This brings the total number of people rescued by the Irish Naval Service alone to 8,000. The summer of 2015 saw unprecedented numbers of people choosing to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Libya towards Italian waters in barely sea worthy constructions. Many people died and many more injured from crushing, exhaustion and dehydration. Children were amongst the deceased.
This is the kind of work that we can feel very proud of, as Irish citizens.
So how can we deliver on or claim that we are ‘Ireland of One Hundred Thousand Welcomes’, our famed ‘Cead Míle Fáilte Romhat? Is it just for visitors to our shores? It cannot be the case. How we choose to welcome those who have lost everything and integrate them into our country will test our own culture and claims. As Jody Clarke said, “Integration is a two-way thing.”
Mr John Roche has been tasked by the Irish government to put a welcome system in place, to connect Irish citizens that can welcome people into their homes and properties with those that need help. “We will be providing welcome packs, hygiene packs, tracing services & reunifying families eventually”, says Roche, who also reminds us that “migration is not a negative thing, it has been positive for Ireland in the past” as millions of people have left Ireland over the past 100 years, mainly men seeking employment and wishing
to send money home to family. We need only take a look
at the cinema billings to the movie ‘Brooklyn’ to remember that immigration is part of the fabric of Irish culture. We have been giving Irish people to the world for decades and now it our turn to receive, thus enriching our communities, neighbourhoods and businesses.
“The biggest weapon of mass destruction in the world is ignorance. Attending these events affords us the opportunity to share knowledge and understanding,” concludes Roche.
Certainly, the resolution to the deep issues in the Middle East lies in the international diplomacy programmes of world leaders far beyond the discussion in UCC in Cork. As citizens of Ireland, we can be part of the solution to alleviate human suffering by
a) making our public representatives aware that we are willing to share in the solution,
b) understanding that displacement is not the choice of migrants and
c) by welcoming those that come to Ireland to seek a better a stable life with open hearts and minds.
“In the form of shinin’ valleys Where the pure air recognized Oh, and my senses newly opened And I awakened to the cry
And the people have the power To redeem the work of fools
From the meek the graces shower It’s decreed the people rule”
Excerpt from ‘People have the power’ by Patti Smith
For more information, please contact:
Grainne Lynch, CILT Southern Section
 The CharTered InsTITuTe of LogIsTICs & TransporT 59

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