Ministers Flanagan and Stanton announce first approvals under Irish Refugee Protection Programme – Humanitarian Admissions Programme


21 December 2018


The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, and his colleague the Minister of State with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton TD, are pleased to announce that the first approvals under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme – Humanitarian Admissions Programme (IHAP) have issued.


An initial group of eighty beneficiaries have now been approved in the first call for proposals under this new humanitarian admissions initiative, which forms part of the Government’s commitments under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP).  The countries represented are Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia and Eritrea.  More grants will follow in the coming weeks.


Minister Flanagan said: “It is important that Ireland continues to respond to urgent humanitarian needs arising from people forced to flee serious conflict.  In announcing the IHAP this year, the Government sought to identify and prioritise vulnerable family members from the top ten refugee producing countries as identified by UNHCR and provide them with an opportunity to join their families who are already living in Ireland.  It is a prudent use of my Ministerial discretion to prioritise such vulnerable groups experiencing conflict and displacement, and to allow families in Ireland to be completed.  It is particularly important that the IHAP has responded quickly to assessing the proposals brought to my attention and that we can give many families here and their relatives at risk abroad some good news at a time of the year when the importance of family is often particularly keenly felt.”


Following on from the success of the first call, a second call for IHAP proposals was launched this week and will run from 20 December 2018 until 31 January 2019.  Those who wish to submit a proposal can find further details and download the IHAP form by going to the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service and clicking on the ‘Asylum’ heading which will take them to a notice in relation to the IHAP.


Minister Stanton added: “The fact that we have now opened a new call for proposals this week is equally welcome news for those who may be worried about vulnerable family members in difficult situations abroad.  This new call will remain open until 31 January 2019.  It is our intention to welcome 530 family members over the duration of the IHAP programme.”




Note for Editors:

The Government established the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) in September 2015 as part of the State’s humanitarian response to the migration crisis in Southern Europe. The State agreed to accept up to 4,000 asylum seekers and refugees overall into Ireland under relocation and resettlement programmes at the earliest time possible.


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.


By the end of the two-year EU Relocation Programme in September 2017, 37,000 asylum seekers were eligible and registered for relocation in Italy and Greece, of which 78% (approximately 29,000) had been relocated to other EU Member States including Ireland.


To address the balance of approximately 1,800 people under the IRPP, additional resettlement pledges were made for 2018 and 2019 and the Minister announced the establishment of a new Humanitarian Admission Programme (IHAP).


The IHAP programme will provide a new humanitarian pathway for eligible family members coming from the world’s top ten major source countries of refugees, as detailed in the UNHCR Global Trends Report, to join their families in Ireland.


This humanitarian admission programme will operate under the Minister’s discretionary powers and is expected to provide for the reunification of more than 500 vulnerable family members over the next two years.


To allow the maximum number of families to benefit from the scheme proposers will be asked to prioritise a small number of family members for admission.


To minimise the impact on an already strained national housing supply, priority may be given to sponsors who can meet the accommodation requirements of eligible family members.