LEICESTER, United Kingdom – An Irish bishop is urging the Republic of Ireland to do more for refugees from Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban takeover of the country.

Earlier this week, Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said the country will accept between 100-150 refugees from Afghanistan.

However, Bishop Alan McGuckian has urged the acceptance of additional refugees by the Irish government.

“Ireland, as one of the wealthier nations of the world, must do more for forcibly displaced people in terms of welcome and integration through State and community supports.  Yes, our hearts are deeply moved by the panicked scenes of people fleeing, but it should not take such scenes and circumstances to force governments to act,” he said.

McGuckian is the chairman of the Council for Justice and Peace of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

“According to the UNHCR, at the end of 2020 there were 82.4 million forcibly displaced people worldwide. Yet 85 percent of these are being looked after in the least wealthy nations, with only 15 percent being accommodated in the wealthier countries of the world, including Ireland. What does this say to us about solidarity and fraternity in our world today?”

The bishop said the the unfolding crisis in Afghanistan “presents Ireland with another opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to the protection of human rights, including access to education for all, and to welcome the stranger among us.”

“As Pope Francis reminds us, we are called respond to such challenges with four actions: welcome, protect, promote and integrate,” McGuckian said.

“I ask people to pray for the safe protection of the people of Afghanistan and other war-torn regions of the world.  In the interest of justice and peace, refugees should be welcomed and integrated in our communities. The values of our Irish faith tradition teach us that outreach, encounter and authentic dialogue can bring the true peace that the world needs at this time.”

The United States has pledged to take in at least 10,000 Afghan refugees, most of whom worked with U.S. forces during the 20-year conflict in the country. The United Kingdom said it would accept around 20,000 refugees.

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