Minister Flanagan welcomes Syrian refugee families at Mosney


·         50 Syrian refugees resettled under the IRPP today

·         Commitment for 2,900 more refugees by 2023


30 December 2019


The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, T.D., has today greeted a number of Syrian refugee families at the Mosney accommodation centre following their arrival this morning at Dublin Airport. The families have been resettled to Ireland under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP).


After welcoming the families on their arrival, the Minister said:


I am delighted to have had the opportunity to meet with the families today. Their experiences over the last few years as they were forced to flee their homes have been traumatic and their stories are harrowing and deeply moving. Their long journey to find safety and sanctuary is now over and I know that the people of Ireland will welcome them with open arms and the offer of friendship and support.”


The families had been living in a UNHCR refugee camp in Lebanon and were interviewed earlier this year by officials from the Department of Justice and Equality as part of a selection mission for the resettlement strand of the IRPP. Paying tribute to the staff who have made today possible, the Minister said:


Today is the culmination of months of hard work, which began with officials from my Department visiting Lebanon to meet with the families with the support of UNHCR. I also want to acknowledge the contribution made by An Garda Síochána in this process”.


The families had their refugee status assessed by UNHCR in Lebanon ensuring that they have refugee status on arrival and can immediately be offered integration measures including English language and orientation classes to assist the families to begin their new lives in Ireland. They will initially reside in the Mosney accommodation centre, where they will receive such supports, before being settled in communities across the country.


On 17 December, Minister Flanagan and his colleague, Minister of State, David Stanton, announced that Ireland will welcome up to 2,900 refugees between 2020 and 2023 through a combination of resettlement and community sponsorship in a second phase of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP).


Speaking today, Minister Flanagan highlighted why it is so important that all countries play their part to assist refugees:


The families that I have met and spoken with today are living proof of the transformative impact of refugee resettlement. They can now look to the future with hope for themselves and their children. With over 70 million forcibly displaced persons globally and almost 7 million from Syria alone, it is only right and proper that Ireland plays its part and offers a helping hand to those less fortunate than ourselves. This new phase of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) will build on the work we have been doing since 2015 to resettle thousands of people.”




Note for Editors:


·         The Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) was established by Government Decision of September 2015 as a key part of Ireland’s response to the global humanitarian migration crisis. It committed Ireland to accept 4,000 persons under various strands, including the EU Relocation Mechanism and UNHCR-led Resettlement Programme. As of 30 December 2019, 3,206 persons have arrived under the IRPP including the 50 refugees who arrived today. Progress across the various strands of the IRPP is as follows:


o   Under the EU Relocation strand, which is now complete, 1,022 people were relocated to Ireland;

o   Under UNHCR-led Resettlement strand, a commitment was made to resettle 1,985 people, of which 1,913 resettlements have been completed;

o   Under the IRPP Humanitarian Admission Programme 2018/19 (IHAP), a commitment was made to admit 740 family members of refugees, of which 159 people have arrived in Ireland to date; and

o   Under other mechanisms (Search and Rescue Missions, Unaccompanied Minors from Greece, Calais Special Project), a commitment was made to admit 253 people, of which 112 have arrived to date.


·         The EU Relocation strand is now complete. There is a balance of 72 people to be resettled from Lebanon to meet the full commitment. Staff from the Department of Justice and Equality will travel to Beirut early in 2020 to finalise processes in relation to these 72 people. In relation to the IHAP strand, those granted permission to travel to Ireland make their own arrangements for travel, therefore the exact timing of the completion of this strand is not known at this time.


·         Community Sponsorship Ireland (CSI) is an alternative form of accommodation for refugees, which sees communities come forward and welcome refugee families into their area.  The local group provides supports around access to housing and to different state services. Refugees arrive in Ireland following selection by UNHCR and a vetting process overseen by Irish Refugee Protection Programme.


·         There has been a pilot programme running in Ireland since 2018 and the feedback from refugee families and communities has been overwhelmingly positive. During this pilot phase, 5 refugee families (17 persons) have been welcomed to host community groups in counties Cork, Waterford and Meath. 


·         The Pilot phase has concluded and has now entered implementation phase with applications accepted on an ongoing basis. Three further families were received by host communities in Kildare, Dublin and Kinsale this month.