236. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of Syrian refugees who have arrived here in each of the years since 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8280/18]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): As the Deputy is aware, the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) was established by Government Decision on 10 September 2015 in direct response to the humanitarian crisis that developed in Southern Europe as a consequence of mass migration from areas of conflict in the Middle East and Africa.
Under this programme, the Government has pledged to accept a total of 4,000 persons into the State. Of these, 2,622 were to be by means of the EU relocation mechanism established by two EU Council Decisions in 2015 to assist Italy and Greece. It should be noted that Ireland voluntarily opted into the two EU Council Decisions on Relocation (2015/1523) and (2015/1601), which provided for the relocation of 160,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece throughout the EU. However, this mechanism was unable to deliver the numbers allocated under the relevant Council Decisions as insufficient numbers of asylum seekers were registered in both Greece and Italy.
A further 1,040 persons were to come to Ireland under the UNHCR-led refugee resettlement programme, currently focussed on resettling refugees from Lebanon, and the balance through a variety of mechanisms.
The following table lists the number of Syrian refugees who were brought to Ireland under the UNHCR-led refugee resettlement programme from the Lebanon in each year since 2011. It should be noted that 2011 pre-dates the establishment of the IRPP. These persons were granted refugee status before their arrival in Ireland. Hundreds more are also scheduled to arrive in 2018 under this mechanism.
The following table lists persons who applied for Asylum/International Protection in Ireland, giving Syria as their country of origin. Since 2016, the majority of these have been relocated to Ireland from Greece under the EU relocation programme.
|Year||Total Number of applications to IPO||Number of Syrians admitted to the State under EU Council Decisions 2015/1523 and 2015/1601|
Approximately two hundred more asylum seekers will arrive from Greece under the relocation mechanism in the coming weeks and months.
In order to fill the shortfall left by the lower than anticipated numbers arriving under the relocation mechanism, I intend that Ireland will use the long established programme refugee mechanism in partnership with UNHCR, and I have already made additional pledges to that effect, as well as the new Family Reunification Humanitarian Admission Programme (FRHAP), in order to ensure that Ireland delivers on its commitment to accept 4,000 persons.