On Friday, Cork East Fine Gael TD and Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration opened the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) National Conference on Refugee Sponsorship Programme and Student Scholarship Schemes. The Conference was held in Dublin City Council Offices in Wood Quay.
Minister Stanton spoke about the need for all countries to redouble their efforts to address the situations which are causing such large levels of mass migration from conflict areas. He noted that people are fleeing from places that have essentially become “hell on earth”.
“The world as we know it is changing and irrevocably so. It is vital therefore, that we as a society, and the next generation of leaders currently residing within the student populations of the world, ensure that the societal changes arising from mass migration in the 21st century, are changes for the better, and not for the worse.”
Addressing the Student Scholarship Schemes, Minister Stanton stressed that “The education of displaced children at primary, secondary and third level must be a priority and is key to ensuring these children will be ready to fulfil their full potential when conflict finally ends. Displaced young people who have been educated in English to a third level standard may well benefit from a scheme of third level support here operated by third level institutions and supported through the Government’s student visa scheme.”
With regard to Refugee Sponsorship Programmes and Minster Stanton referenced the Syrian Humanitarian Admission Programme (SHAP) which was introduced by the Government in 2014 to admit Syrians under a sponsorship arrangement by the existing Syrian community here for up to two years.
“The Government’s Irish Refugee Protection Programme is responding to the ongoing Syrian Crisis by offering some 4,000 places to those in need of international protection under the Programme’s resettlement and relocation elements. Up to very recently, a total of 311 persons displaced by the Syrian conflict had been admitted. The pace of arrivals has now picked up significantly and a further 20 programme refugees arrived from Lebanon under the resettlement programme last Monday, another 27 programme refugees arrived from Lebanon last Thursday morning and a further 31 asylum seekers arrived from Greece last Thursday afternoon. I myself was at the airport to welcome this last group.”
The Minister further added “we expect to have admitted the majority of refugees of our resettlement quota of 520 by the end of September and to have reached that full quota by mid October.”
Deputy Stanton concluded by saying that that in his capacity as Minister of State for Equality, Immigration & Integration, his door will always be open to those who wish to contribute positively to the State’s efforts to meet its obligations as regards current and future mass migration.
The Minister’s full speech is available on http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/SP16000238