Written answers

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Departmental Priorities

Photo of Fergus O'DowdFergus O'Dowd (Louth, Fine Gael)
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64. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will provide an update on the work he and his Department have undertaken to date to evacuate and support Irish citizens and persons with a connection to Ireland from Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56289/21]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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A total of 107 Irish citizens and their dependents have been assisted in evacuating Afghanistan since the crisis broke in mid-August. This included the deployment of an Emergency Civil Assistance Team, which previously helped to evacuate 26 citizens and residents.

My Department, including our Embassies in Abu Dhabi and Ankara, has worked with EU Member States and partners in the region to support the ongoing evacuation efforts. We are appreciative of the continuing cooperation with the Government of Qatar in this regard.

Work is ongoing to support the 12 Irish citizens and their dependents who remain in Afghanistan and wish to leave. My Department has also provided support to established residents, a number of whom were assisted in returning to Ireland.

Separately, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth administers the Irish Refugee Protection Programme. Over 500 Afghan nationals have been granted refugee status under this Programme, with over 300 having returned safely to Ireland. My Department has provided support, including through our Embassy network, in securing safe passage to Ireland for a number of these.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the officials in my Department for the work undertaken to date in providing assistance for those seeking to leave Afghanistan.

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