Earlier this week Cork East Fine Gael TD and Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton and An Tanaiste, Frances Fitzgerald TD chaired the 5th meeting of the inter-Departmental and Agency Taskforce on issues relating to the arrival of refugees and asylum seekers.
“This week’s meeting provided an opportunity for An Tanaiste and me to outline Ireland’s progress to date with our commitments under Irish Refugee Protection Protection Programme which we are determined to deliver on”, said Minister Stanton.
“To date more than 550 refugees and asylum seekers have arrived here this year through the Irish Refugee Protection Programme. Over 1,300 are already scheduled to arrive in 2017 but this figure could increase significantly as further pledges and commitments are made by Ireland next year.
“While the relocation programme from Greece has been slower to progress, it is now fully operational and significant numbers of asylum seekers are now beginning to arrive in Ireland from Greece. The resettlement of refugees from Lebanon will be delivered ahead of target by Ireland. Ireland has made a further commitment of 260 refugees for 2017 and we are actively considering another substantial pledge.
Minister Stanton concluded by noting that: “The people arriving here under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme are fleeing civil war and conflict. Many have suffered terribly, have unaddressed or undiagnosed medical needs and many children have never even attended school. They have lost everything and are arriving on our shores with just the clothes on their backs. This is a terribly vulnerable group that need all our help and assistance.”