Written answers

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Department of Justice and Equality

Refugee Resettlement Programme

Photo of John LahartJohn Lahart (Dublin South West, Fianna Fail)
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84. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of the 4,000 Syrian refugees that the Government committed to taking in that have been taken as of 28 February 2017; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15008/17]

Photo of David StantonDavid Stanton (Cork East, Fine Gael)
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As the Deputy will be aware, the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) was established by Government Decision on 10 September 2015 as a direct response to the humanitarian crisis that developed in Southern Europe as a consequence of mass migration from areas of conflict in the Middle East and Africa. Under this programme, the Government has pledged to accept a total of 4,000 persons into the State, 2,622 through the EU relocation mechanism established by two EU Council Decisions in 2015 to assist Italy and Greece, and 1,040 (519 by the end of 2016 and the remainder in 2017) under the UNHCR-led refugee resettlement programme currently focussed on resettling refugees from Lebanon.

In a further gesture of humanitarian assistance towards the most vulnerable caught up in the migration crisis and following a debate in the Dáil, the Government also committed to taking up to 200 unaccompanied minors from France who were previously resident in the migrant camp at Calais. These initiatives therefore leave just a small residual balance to be allocated from the Government decision to take 4,000 persons.

In summary, to the end of 28th February 2017, the numbers of persons that have arrived under both the programme refugee resettlement strand and the relocated asylum seeker strands of the programme are set out in Table 1 and Table 2 respectively.

Table 1: Programme Refugees

Total PeopleAdultsMinorsAge 0-4Age 5-12Age 13-17

Table 2: Relocated Asylum Seekers

Total PeopleAdultsMinorsAge 0-4Age 5-12Age 13-17

Further numbers have of course arrived under both of the above strands since 28 February. Full details on the two primary strands of the programme are set out below for the information of the Deputy.

Resettlement strand of the programme

Taking account of the situation in the Middle East, and the plight of the refugees, the Tánaiste announced that Ireland would accept 520 persons for resettlement over an 18-month period to the end of 2017. This was almost double the figure proposed for Ireland by the European Commission and was delivered a year ahead of the Commission deadline.

In addition, the Government recently announced that it is extending the resettlement programme to take in a further 520 refugees from Lebanon in 2017, most of whom are of Syrian origin. 260 refugees have already been selected during a selection mission to Lebanon in October 2016 and are expected to arrive in Spring 2017. Most of these refugees are also Syrian. A further selection mission to Lebanon will be arranged in the coming months to select the remaining refugees due to come to Ireland in 2017 under the resettlement programme.

Relocation strand of the programme

Despite initial delays outside of Ireland's control in respect of the operation of the 'hotspots' on the ground in Greece, Ireland has to-date taken in a total of 320 people from Greece under relocation, another 78 people have been formally accepted and are awaiting transport arrangements, and a further 155 have been assessed and are awaiting clearance. A monthly schedule has been agreed with the Greek authorities which will sustain the pace of intakes throughout 2017 at the levels required to allow Ireland to meets its commitments to Greece within the time frame envisaged by the Programme.

As regards Italy, the relocation mechanism from Italy has yet to commence for many countries, including Ireland, due to issues with the Italian authorities surrounding the security assessment of migrants assigned to other Member States. Intensive efforts are ongoing to resolve this, both bilaterally with Italian counterparts at official, diplomatic and Ministerial level, and at EU level, including through the European Commission and it is hoped that a resolution can be found in the coming weeks.

The total target for relocation to Ireland in the Council Decisions also includes a further 910 persons but the country of origin for this cohort has not yet been assigned at EU level.

Table 3 sets out the position regarding the assignment of the 4,000.

Table 3: Table of Total Numbers under Government Decision

Relocation StrandNumbers
Council Decision 2015/1523600
Council Decision 2015/16012,022
Total Relocation2,622
Resettlement Strand
Government Decision 09/06/15520
Government Decision 06/07/16260
Government Decision 29/11/16260
Total Resettlement1,040
Total Unaccompanied Minors Calais (Government Decision 10/11/16)200 (up to)
Mechanism as yet undecided138
Grand Total4000


Laurence Flynn
Posted on 20 Apr 2017 9:45 am

This comment has been deleted

Derrick Atkinson
Posted on 7 May 2017 12:57 pm (Report this comment)

Does the Government intend to continue and expand this program in secrecy without any public consultation ?

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