Ukraine flags fly outside SS Peter & Paul's Church in Portlaoise
A preparatory multi-agency meeting has taken place in Laois ahead of a possible major influx of Ukrainians fleeing Vladimir Putin's brutal invasion of their homeland.
Laois County Council has facilitated the meeting of different State and non-State organisations in Laois to consider what steps will be need to be taken and structures put in place to respond to the needs the arrivals are likely to put on services and the community.
While there is no official role for the council at this point as the refugee response is being managed by and through central Government, it was felt prudent to convene a meeting in the likelihood that the Government and State agencies may delegate responsibilities for some services to agencies on the ground in Laois and other counties.
At present, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) are the lead Department on the Ukrainian accommodation response and particularly acting through its International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS).
In turn, IPAS are using the facility of the Irish Red Cross to accept pledges of accommodation from the public.
Laois County Council hosted a meeting of locally based agencies to facilitate exchange of information and updates on any locally emerging issues between those agencies. As is normal in such situations, it is expected that such meetings would reconvene if and as required.
Among the agencies to attend were Laois Partnership and the Laois Volunteer Centre.
A small number of Ukrainian refugees have already arrived in Laois but there is an expectation that significantly more could arrive in the county as they flee the Russian onslaught.
Numerous collections have taken place in Laois for Ukraine with two big shipments leaving Portlaoise and Rosenallis during March.
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