Since 2000 immigration due to the vast global movement of people together with European enlargement means that Ireland has changed significantly.
Sisters of Mercy are involved with people who are seeking asylum or are refugees or who came in search of a better standard of living.
A number of Sisters from South Central Province offer support to refugees, asylum seekers or ‘new Irish’. Some give tuition in English, others befriend individuals and are helping towards their integration in practical ways.
Sisters have been involved with the Clare Immigrant Support Centre and with Doras (Development Organisation for Refugees and Asylum Seekers).
In the Clare area Sisters have been involved in Solas, a joint Church support group set up as an effort at integration of immigrants and migrants, creating a welcoming and well informed community locally.
One of our Sisters was instrumental in setting up Doras Luimni in 1999 and in the years since then many of our Sisters have been involved with it in different roles – as Board members, providing rent free accommodation for some years, and as staff and volunteers. It is now a well- established non-governmental organisation which works with about 1,200 clients per year and whose mission is to promote and uphold human rights and the wellbeing of migrants. In 2015 it extended its remit to support the resettlement programme for Syrian refugees in Portlaoise. Doras aims to enhance the lives of immigrants and to bring about legislative change and attitudinal change, addressing racism. An advice and legal information centre is open to the public three days a week. To help with integration there are English language classes and a conversational language programme. Though DORAS is an independent Company, the Sisters continues to support the initiative which has broadened its scope and attracted public and other funding. We have pledged financial support over three years to match public funding for a Reception and Integration Service. Sisters help in a voluntary capacity with literacy and other classes and with personal support and outreach to migrant.