Cllr Joe Carlebach is a councillor for Avonmore and Brook Green Ward.
I was very disappointed when I heard that there was to be a halt to the current programme to receive unaccompanied refugee children coming to the UK who are particularly at risk.
The scheme became known as the ‘Dubs amendment’ which resulted in an alliance of central government and local authorities in an attempt to help alleviate the suffering of these very vulnerable children.
It is for me a matter of real regret that confusion now reigns as to why this programme has been has terminated with central and local government arguing with each other as to who is responsible for this and why.
I have said publicly a number of times that very vulnerable orphans and unaccompanied minors should be given priority in coming to this country and I stand by this.
It is hard to see these children as economic refugees and their plight is real and desperate. I include in this group many orphans of the dreadful war in Syria whose parents and immediate families have been slaughtered in that terrible humanitarian crisis. They sit in poverty, in desperation and alone.
As an aside I want to say shame on the Red Cross for demeaning this term by attempting to portray our wonderful NHS in the same light as the plight of these children. This is a betrayal of both the NHS and these desperate children.
Our great nation has a proud history as a place of sanctuary and safety for those fleeing persecution.
I am the child of a German Jewish refugee who arrived here on the Kinder-transport just before the outbreak of the Second World War. The generosity showed to my father and then to me by this country has made me so very proud to a British citizen.
That is why I am now asking for all involved to come together to find a way forward and continue to help and protect these very vulnerable children.
Specifically I believe central and local government need to work together on this issue to come up with a solution that is both practical and humane.
We should never turn our backs on those most in need. We should continue to demonstrate we are a compassionate, caring and understanding country and that indeed we are still a leader amongst nations on all issues including this one.