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Question

436. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality in response to the criticism from the United Nations Special Representative on Migration that Ireland is not accepting enough resettlement refugees fleeing the crisis in Syria, her plans to increase the numbers being accepted. [28426/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): On 13 May 2015, the European Commission, published an EU Agenda for Migration. Among the measures proposed was the establishment of an EU-wide resettlement scheme to offer 20,000 resettlement places. The Commission proposed that the scheme will cover all Member States, with the numbers suggested for each Member State calculated according to distribution criteria based on GDP, size of population, unemployment rate and past numbers of asylum seekers and of resettled refugees. It also takes account of the efforts already made on a voluntary basis by Member States.
The Commission's calculation envisaged Ireland accepting 272 refugees for resettlement between now and the end of 2016. While plans were already in place for the resettlement of 220 refugees in 2015/16, the Government agreed to accept an additional 300 refugees over and above that figure. A total of 520 refugees will therefore be admitted in 2015/2016, the majority of whom will be refugees displaced by the Syrian conflict.