Irish politicians to visit Moldova to study influx of refugees

Delegation will seek to learn how other countries are providing humanitarian services

A cross-party delegation is to visit Moldova to study how the country is dealing with the influx of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Four members of the Oireachtas EU affairs committee will visit the country, as well as Romania, next week. The delegation will be led by Fine Gael TD and chair Joe McHugh, and will include Labour and Sinn Féin foreign affairs spokesmen Brendan Howlin and John Brady.

Fine Gael senator Regina Doherty is also set to attend with the group, which Mr McHugh said is planning to see a refugee camp as well as meet government representatives from the two countries.

"My thinking is of the support and solidarity we got during Brexit, it's only right that we show the same solidarity to those at the front at the moment," Mr McHugh said. A second trip by committee members is likely to follow later in the year, to Georgia. The committee recently heard from the Moldovan, Georgian and Ukrainian ambassadors on their countries' applications to join the EU, which will also form part of the discussions on the trip.

The delegation will fly into Bucharest next Monday before taking an internal flight to the border with Moldova, whose airspace is closed, Mr Howlin said.

“The EU affairs committee is interested in the application of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia for EU membership and how we can assist in the process. Obviously the impact of war and refugees will loom large in discussions,” Mr Howlin said.

Mr McHugh said the group will also seek to learn from the countries they visit about how they are providing services for refugees in terms of educational issues and health pressures. “We haven’t had to do that immediately, are there lessons learned at this early stage.”