Tuesday, 11 October 2016
Department of Justice and Equality
Refugee Resettlement Programme
36. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality further to when she spoke at the UN summit on refugees and migrants in New York when she indicated the Government will have resettled 870 migrants by the end of 2016, the reason for the disparity between this figure and the Government's commitment to accept 4,000 people from Syria; and the way the figure of 4,000 can be both achieved and surpassed. [29706/16]
I can inform the deputy there is no disparity in the figures quoted. The Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) was established by Government Decision on 10 September, 2015 pledged to accept a total of 4,000 persons, through a combination of the EU relocation mechanism established by two EU Council Decisions in 2015 to assist Italy and Greece, and the UNHCR-led refugee resettlement programme currently focused on resettling refugees from camps in Jordan and Lebanon. This was made up of 520 under resettlement and 2,622 under the EU Relocation programme. A further 260 has been approved by Government under Resettlement with the balance of the allocation to be decided.
By the end of this year the full complement of 520 will be resettled with a further 360 due to arrive under relocation bringing the total to 880.
While the relocation programme from Greece has been slower to progress due to on the ground logistical challenges there, following constant engagement and visits from my officials, significant numbers of asylum seekers are now beginning to arrive in Ireland from Greece. The intention is to sustain the pace of intakes throughout 2017 at the levels required to allow Ireland to meets its commitments within the timeframe envisaged by the Programme. This will of course depend on the continued cooperation of the Greek and Italian authorities in the process of selecting and assessing persons for assignment to Ireland. The rate of progress on resettlement is European wide. Recent figures indicate that per head of population, Ireland’s response to date places us 8th out of the 31 countries participating in the programmes.