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News from around the Network
2019 New Year Edition
Welcome to our first newsletter in 2019,  which comes with all our good wishes for a happy and peaceful new year!

We hope you enjoy this newsletter and take note/respond to the many opportunities mentioned below. Please feel circulate this letter to other people in your local group. We look forward to being in touch.


 School of Sanctuary workshop in an Intercultural Education Conference

DCU's Centre for Human Rights and Citizenship Education is holding an Intercultural Education Conference on 25th and 26th January 2019. The theme of the conference is: Intercultural Education: Beyond the Single StoryPlaces of Sanctuary Ireland will be holding a School of Sanctuary workshop on the 25th in one of the sessions in the afternoon.

The conference welcomes teachers, teacher educators, academics, students, children, artists, performers, writers, NGOs, parents, principals and others working in or concerned about intercultural education within schools. 

We believe this conference will be a great opportunity for local groups to find out more about Schools of Sanctuary and to encourage schools in your local area to get involved. With your support it can also be an opportunities for stakeholders of a variety of background to learn about Places of Sanctuary.


(Day2 is child friendly.)

Click poster to link to its PDF format.

Universities and Colleges of Sanctuary updates
An integrated webpage for Universities and Colleges of Sanctuary is now available on Places of Sanctuary Ireland website.

Users can find out about how to become a Higher Education Institution of Sanctuary, how to get in touch with each individual institutions and be updated latest opportunities .  

Access course scholarship graduates who have completed the access course with the Department head who runs the course. 02/11/2018, ATI Conferring Ceremony (Picture by: Lafayette Photography). There are currently 5 residents of the Lissywollen Direct Provision Centre on scholarships attending  the access course this academic year.
Have your say: Places of Sanctuary Ireland Charter
In the network of Places of Sanctuary Ireland, we are committed to work together to build a culture of welcome, hospitality and inclusiveness right across every sphere and sector of society, so that wherever people seeking sanctuary go they will feel safe, find people who welcome them and understand why they are here, and have opportunities to be included in all activities.

How can our goal translate into real progresses? What may guide our activities on the ground? These are important questions for everyone who wish to contribute to our movement.

With these questions in mind, Places of Sanctuary Ireland (the organisation) has drafted a Charter for the Island of Ireland, based on the Charter developed by our comrades in the UK. We are hoping to have a network meeting in Dublin in March, probably on 9th March, and this will be one of the areas for discussion.

Meanwhile please email your suggestions and comments to us via, titled with "Discussion: Places of Sanctuary Ireland Charter ”.
Sanctuary in Politics goes local and international 
Sanctuary in Politics is a very popular training package which started in Ireland. We believe it is important to empower people to speak for themselves and for each other to the political system we live in. 

Ireland has one of the most migrant friendly electoral systems. Every five years, migrant residents have the opportunity vote (and run!) in local elections just as Irish citizens do. The next local elections are expected to be in May or June this year. 
Dublin local group has successfully held a Migrant Voter Registration training session to encourage migrants leaders and Irish supporters to work together to encourage migrants to sign up to the Electoral Register. 11 councillors and local representatives joined a panel to discuss local politics, and what they can do to supported migrants. We distributed over 1000 voter registration forms, and collected many signed forms.   You can watch a video about the training session here.  

Voter registration in front of GPO.

Our local group in Galway is also planning on a 6 day Sanctuary in Politics course aiming to increase political awareness amongst asylum seekers, refugees and Irish Travellers.
Elsewhere, our colleagues in the UK have also taken on Sanctuary in Politics. Two pilots of Sanctuary in Politics courses have already been carried out in Bristol and Preston, with an aim to "equip a new generation of leaders to become ‘sanctuary ambassadors’ within the City of Sanctuary network and the wider sanctuary movement." said CoS UK Chief Officer Sian Summers-Rees. The trainings were delivered by some of the best campaign trainers and local politicians. A detailed report about the course in Bristol is available hereThe next course is planned for Wales.

Sanctuary News From the Network

Residents of the Montegue DP Centre were invited to Elbowroom Escape in Co. Wicklow for Christmas. 
Families had the freedom to cook, relax and enjoy a great holiday from the 24th to 27th December. “It was fun cooking at the commercial kitchen as a team, celebrating different cuisines,” said one of the residents. The residents had a chance to intermingle more than they usually do at the DP centre. Everybody had the freedom to wake up at any time and prepare their breakfast with no time restrictions. Children enjoyed meals, prepared and served by their mothers. Lisa (the owner of Elbowroom escape), and her partner Justin joined the group for Christmas dinner. Croft cake design donated a Christmas cake which was loved by everybody. On St. Stephens Day, the adults were give €20 worth shopping voucher each and transport was provided for them to go into Dublin City Centre for some shopping. Transport was provided by Boylans buses. The children stayed behind with volunteers. They played outside, they went for forest hikes and played other games, the feedback received from the children was positive. On the last day Mary and Willie William’s brought Popeye the pony, both the children and mothers enjoyed riding Popeye.  Everybody created memories to remember. Thanks to Lisa Wilkinson; her team and Eric and Noel (Boylans buses) for pulling everything together. The holiday was a memorable for everybody and to some it was the best Christmas holiday they have ever had in Ireland.

"Welcome is one of those things we often take so much for granted that we don’t notice it.  But we all know what it feels like not to be made welcome.  Empty words matched with empty gestures make us uncomfortable, uneasy and unvalued.  People of faith must always be people of welcome even when it makes us feel uneasy, a little scared or more than confused." The Reverend David White wrote, reflecting on the Harvest Thanksgiving service in Carlow. Philip McKinley, Chaplain at DCU’s Interfaith Centre was invited to give the address on welcome and hospitality,  especially in relation to asylum seekers, migrants and refugees. Members of the Rohingya Community also addressed the audience. You can read the Reverend's full article here:


Cork is also busy creating city-wide buy-in for its aim to become a City of Sanctuary this year. They have formed an impressive ten sub groups including schools and health, and they are preparing for a meeting in the spring to launch their campaign.  Read More...
Belfast has been very active in pursuing the shared goal to be declared a City of Sanctuary this year. December saw the launch of the hugely successful project, 'A Part of Belfast Now', an interactive awareness raising endeavour where the stories of refugees and other newcomers are taken around key locations such as libraries, council offices and community centres all around the city. The exhibiiton was received to great acclaim in City Hall and Belfast Net College and we look forward to further news of its exciting journey.


A group of Syrian and Iraqi students proudly display their Ecdl and Driver Theory certificates in Gorey library. Wexford county and organisations like the libraries are finding out more about becoming places of Sanctuary and the newcomers are already feeling at home.


Two representatives from both the University and Community of Sanctuary committees (one from each) attended a regional conference in Yorshire & Humbershire, UK, to share ideas and information with local groups. Groups represented were Sheffield, York, Wakefield, Harrogate, Bradford, Malhamdale, Doncaster, Ripon, Leeds, Bentham, Barnsley and North Pennines. It was a great opportunity for Galway representatives to learn from groups who have been involved with the Places of Sanctuary movement for a number of years, and to promote Galway as a Community of Sanctuary.

Members of the DKIT College of Sanctuary Steering group held secret Santa events for children in Monsney Direct Provision Centre and Carroll Village in Dundulk.  The DKIT community generously donated Christmas presents for children.  This gave us an opportunity to visit and connect with families in DP.  Read more Dundalk here.

Letters from the Network
 Upcoming: MentaHealth Seminars 
We are very happy to announce that Places of Sanctuary Ireland has received a grant from CFI Social Change Grants for a mental health project for asylum seekers and refugees. we are planning to hold four half day seminars n Dublin, Port Laoise, Cork and Galway. Each seminar will take place in conjunction with an active City of Sanctuary local group, who will bring together asylum seekers and refugees with local volunteers and mental health professionals. The aim of these seminars is to create a better understanding of the mental health challenges asylum seekers and refugees face and to create a dialogue and collaboration with involved volunteers and relevant health professionals. Thee seminars will take place during 2019, with the first two in Dublin and Port Laoise in May/June 2019. The other two in Galway and Cork are planned for after the summer. 

Contact Us:
  • Tiffy Allen -
  • Philip Berman (Chairperson of Places of Sanctuary Ireland) -
  • Tian Yu Lloyd -                        
For general inquiries please email:

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to anyone who may be interested in our work. 

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