Tuesday, 28 February 2017
Department of Justice and Equality
Refugee Resettlement Programme
The Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) was established by Government Decision on 10 September 2015 as a direct response to the migration crisis that had developed on the southern shores of the European Union. Under this Decision a programme office was established in my Department to oversee the operational aspects of the programme, which aims to bring in 4,000 vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees to Ireland under two different mechanisms, refugee resettlement - operated by the Office for Promotion of Migrant Integration (OPMI) - and asylum seeker relocation from within the EU.
We will be 100% ahead of target numbers on the Resettlement Programme by next September, due to our commitment to accept an additional 520 programme refugees from Lebanon this year. While there have been challenges at EU level to maximise the functioning of the Relocation aspect of the programme, following my visit to Greece last December, I am satisfied that the numbers coming in under relocation will scale up to agreed levels this year. My emphasis currently is to increase the number of people arriving in Ireland under the mechanisms currently in place. I am satisfied that we are making that progress now to ensure many more people can come to Ireland under our resettlement and relocation programmes. Our attention is focused on meeting these targets and the needs of those accepted under the programmes on arrival. Significant resources are currently being invested in these humanitarian efforts through the various offices in my Department and in other Departments and agencies. As a result we have established functioning mechanisms and associated expertise to deal with resettlement and relocation.
It is essential that we continue our efforts to complete the IRPP successfully before we look to apply the learning from this Programme to deliberations with regards to any future refugee intake. Decisions taken at EU level with regard to the ongoing migration crisis will of course impact on any such deliberations.