Minister Flanagan and Minister Stanton agree to invite unaccompanied minors to Ireland in solidarity with Malta


9 January 2019


The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, T.D., and his colleague, the Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton, T.D., are pleased to announce that Ireland will accept unaccompanied minors from Malta as a gesture of solidarity and humanitarian assistance.


Speaking upon the conclusion of discussions between Irish officials with the Maltese authorities and with the European Commission, Minister Flanagan said: “I am pleased to announce that we will offer to welcome five unaccompanied minors to Ireland from Malta. These children have been rescued from the Mediterranean Sea in humanitarian search and rescue missions and have been through a terrible ordeal. They will be welcomed to Ireland under our Irish Refugee Protection Programme, which has a proven record of helping those who are most vulnerable. We will ensure that they are provided with all of the necessary supports.” 


Also welcoming the news, Minister Stanton said: “Upon their transfer to Ireland, these unaccompanied minors will be taken into the care of our child protection authorities and have all of their needs assessed including health and educational needs. They will enjoy an ‘equity of care’ principle, which affords them the same standard of care provision as any other child in our care.


Further contact will now be initiated between Irish and Maltese officials to establish the appropriate arrangements for the transfer of these unaccompanied minors to Ireland.


The Ministers wish to thank their colleague, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, T.D. and her Tusla colleagues for their support in this initiative. 




Note for Editors:

Ireland has agreed to accept these unaccompanied minors in a gesture of solidarity and humanitarian assistance with Malta. They are part of a total of 298 migrants who have disembarked in Malta following Search and Rescue (SAR) missions in the Mediterranean.


Under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP), Ireland has agreed to accept up to 4,000 asylum seekers and refugees overall into Ireland at the earliest time possible.  Since 2015, 2,159 asylum seekers and refugees have been admitted to Ireland under the IRPP, by way of relocation from Greece or resettlement from Lebanon under the UNHCR-led programme.  This includes the Syrian families resettled from Lebanon last month.


Tusla – the Child and Family Agency, has statutory responsibility for the care of unaccompanied minors in the State.