Ireland to send experts to help with implementation of EU - Turkey migration agreement in compliance with international law


31st March, 2016

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, TD announced today that, following the conclusions of the meeting of the European Council on 17/18 March 2016, Ireland was responding positively to urgent requests from the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) for assistance to the Greek Asylum authorities in implementing the new arrangements agreed between the EU and Turkey in tackling the refugee\migration crisis.

Ireland will shortly be sending 3 international protection case work experts to the Greek Islands. The experts will come from the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC) and the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). Ireland will also be offering the services of 2 members of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal to support the establishment of Appeals Committees. This is also being coordinated by EASO. The agreement requires that the return of irregular migrants to Turkey will take place in full accordance with EU and international law. Furthermore, all migrants must be protected in accordance with the relevant international standards and in respect of the principle of non-refoulement.

This contribution will be on top of the 4 Irish experts sent earlier this year from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service and the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner to Greece and Italy to support the relocation of asylum seekers under the EU Relocation Programme.

The Minister said “It is important that Ireland continues to play its part in the EU effort in tackling the refugee and migration crisis and I am pleased that, in spite of the pressure on our reduced staff resources, we are able to make a further and meaningful contribution”.

Ireland is also considering a request from Frontex to EU Member States for the deployment of border Guards to assist in the return of people from Greece to Turkey in compliance with international law. There are some limitations on what Ireland can do, given it is not a member of Frontex, but it would like to help where it can.

The Minister concluded "This is an EU crisis and requires an EU response. There are major challenges but these will be even greater if we don't work together".