15 September 2017 


Minister Charlie Flanagan today announced that Ireland intends to make a pledge to accept 600 programme refugees in 2018. This commitment has been made as part of a new EU resettlement pledging exercise under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, for the period 9 December 2017 - 31 December 2018.

Minister Flanagan said ‘I informed my EU colleagues yesterday that Ireland will put forward a pledge of 600 refugees during this period. This includes a commitment to take an additional 330 programme refugees above the 270 people who are due to arrive in 2018. This demonstrates Ireland’s continuing commitment to play a full and active part in the EU efforts to meet the challenges of the migration crisis’


Minister Flanagan outlined the progress to date under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, stating: ‘Two years ago the Government agreed to establish the Irish Refugee Protection Programme in response to this unprecedented humanitarian crisis. The aim of the programme then as now is to offer a welcome safe haven for families and children who have been forced to leave their homes due to war and conflict. To date over 1,300 people, including over 650 children have found a new and safe home in Ireland. Implementing the programme presents logistical challenges across government but we are making steady progress with arrangements for those arriving under the Programme. To ensure progress continues I have asked my officials to undertake a review of the Programme to see what more can be done to ensure we meet our targets. 

Ireland expects to be an active participant in current and future pledges in respect of refugees and other vulnerable persons in need of protection. Let me be clear the determination of the Government to deliver on our targets remains absolute.”


Minister Flanagan confirmed that Ireland will have met its commitment to formally pledge for 1,089 people from Greece by the end of this month with all 1,089 due to arrive in Ireland by the end of the year or early in the new year. 


The Minister participated in discussions on migration  the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council in Brussels yesterday (Thursday) where Ministers received updates on a number of EU initiatives intended to reform the Common European Asylum System and actions taken to better manage migration flows. 


Commenting on the fact that the EU is dealing with mixed migration flows, Minister Flanagan stressed the need to continue examining all of the possible solutions to eliminate dangerous journeys. Minister Flanagan expressed the opinion that this “will include removing the initiative from the people smugglers through in-country supports, direct investment, resettlement programmes for those most vulnerable and other legal pathways for regular migration which can offer hope where currently there is only desperation.”


In conclusion, Minister Flanagan took the opportunity to commend communities right across the country for the welcome they have extended to those who have come to Ireland. Minister Flanagan said ‘Ireland has always lived up to its international humanitarian obligations. We have a reputation as a kind, generous people open to the world. I am delighted that the people of Ireland have responded with compassion in welcoming those who have suffered greatly but have found in Ireland a place of refuge."


ENDS


NOTE FOR EDITORS


Resettlement
Ireland has committed to accept 1,040 refugees by the end of 2017 under the resettlement strand of the programme and this commitment is on track with 785 people already in the State and the remaining 255 people due in by early 2018. 

Of the 785 persons in Ireland under resettlement 359 are adults and 426 are minors

Relocation
Ireland has committed to accept 2,622 asylum seekers under the relocation strand of the programme. This total is composed of 1,089 people from Greece, 623 people from Italy and 910 people as yet unallocated.

Ireland will have met its commitment to formally pledge for 1,089 people from Greece by September 2017. All 1,089 are due to arrive in Ireland by the end of the year or early in the new year. 

New arrivals since the beginning of September have seen the total number of persons arriving in Ireland under the relocation strand of the Programme up to 552, of which 321 are adults and 231 are minors.
The original 4000 people target included the 910 people whose places remain unallocated by the European Commission and are therefore not in a position to be relocated at this time. The target also included the 623 people to be relocated from Italy, which has unfortunately not proved possible for reasons including vetting and security issues. Ireland is therefore on target to fulfil its commitments where we have been able to implement procedures to ensure appropriate security considerations are addressed. 

Resettlement in Communities across Ireland as at 31 August 2017
Of the over 1,300 persons arrived in the State to date under the IRPP, approximately 720 have been housed in communities across Ireland so far with a further small number in the care of Tusla. The majority of the balance of individuals are being provided with accommodation in Emergency Reception and Orientation Centres with the exception of a small number of cases which have required special emergency accommodation arrangements due to medical or other issues. The movement of people is ongoing and the IRPP is working closely with Local Authorities across the country and the Irish Red Cross to secure housing for those admitted under the programme.