Thousands of young Irish people are stranded and "forgotten" in Australia because of the Covid-19 pandemic and are "begging" for the Government’s help to come home.
This is the view of Sinn Féin Galway West TD, Mairéad Farrell, who said the current situation in Australia for thousands of young Irish people - mostly aged between 20 and 30 - is "dire" because they are on working holiday visas and are not entitled to State assistance from the Australian government.
In addition, almost all flights in and out of the country have been suspended. The entire situation has led them with "absolutely no means of living during this lockdown and no means of getting out".
'They are desperate to get home, but even if they can get a flight, they are being quoted between AUS€10,000 and AUS$16,000, which is way beyond their means'
Sinn Féin is calling on the Government to consider chartering special flights to get those who want to come home out of Australia. The party has also asked that they consider giving direct financial aid to the Irish on visas in Australia who have no way of supporting themselves.
It has contacted Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, and Minister of State with responsibility for the Global Irish, Ciarán Cannon, to highlight the situation.
'Government needs to step up and assist the thousands of Irish in Australia using all means at their disposal'
Dep Farrell was contacted this week by Galwegians working in Perth and Sydney. "They are desperately seeking help now Australia has been put on lockdown and all non-essential services have been halted," she said. "They are desperate to get home, but even if they can get a flight, they are being quoted between AUS€10,000 and AUS$16,000, which is way beyond their means. They are terrified and they are begging the Irish Government to help them."
She added: ‘We need to look after our people, no matter where they are. The situation is unique and unprecedented and the Government needs to step up and assist the thousands of Irish in Australia using every and all means at their disposal."