Politics

Timmy Dooley calls for refugee processing camps following trip into Ukraine


Camps should be created inside the Polish border to speed up the processing of Ukrainian refugees arriving into the European Union, Fianna Fáil Senator Timmy Dooley has said following a brief visit to Ukraine on Sunday.

Mr Dooley, who is vice president of the EU Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) political grouping, and MEP Billy Kelleher, travelled to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Sunday for talks with political leaders from the area before returning to Poland that evening.

Mr Dooley told the Irish Times he was invited by members of Volodymyr Zelensky’s Servant of the People’s party (Sluga Narodu) to travel to the border as a representative for ALDE.

ALDE party members voted last week to grant temporary affiliate status to Mr Zelensky’s party.

“Initially we’d agreed to go to the border but this morning they asked us to go to Lviv,” said Mr Dooley. “We asked if it was safe, they showed us it was and we met the mayor of the city and the governor of that area.”

Mr Dooley earlier told RTÉ news that he chose to meet the party in person because “it showed we were really serious about helping them” and “that we were committed to working with them”.

Senator Timmy Dooley and MEP Billy Kelleher travelled to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Sunday for talks with political leaders from the area before returning to Poland in the evening. Photograph: Alan Betson
Senator Timmy Dooley and MEP Billy Kelleher travelled to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Sunday for talks with political leaders from the area before returning to Poland in the evening. Photograph: Alan Betson

A report is being prepared following the visit which Mr Kelleher will circulate to all members of the European parliament and leaders of the ALDE party upon his return to Strasbourg, Mr Dooley told The Irish Times.

Asked what the report contained, Mr Dooley said he would “communicate concerns” to the parliament in Strasbourg about processing delays on the border along with other requests around military intervention and calls for a no fly zone over Ukraine. “We listened and will communicate their desires”.

“We saw a queue of about 20km of people in cars, a queue of about 5km of people in a line waiting to cross the border,” said Mr Dooley. “It’s clear the processing of individuals coming into Poland is too slow, it’s taking too long. It’s unacceptable and really adding to the suffering of the people.”

The EU should “create a zone inside Poland, and other border countries, and create control camps where people can be managed and processed”, he said.

Asked whether the Irish Government and Taoiseach were aware of his trip to Poland, Mr Dooley said he had travelled as part of an ALDE operation. It’s understood the Taoiseach was aware Mr Dooley was travelling to the Polish border but did not know his party colleague would enter Ukraine.

The office of an Taoiseach was contacted on Sunday night to comment on the trip but had not responded by time of publication.



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