Minister McEntee announces resettlement of refugee families from Greece


Up to 50 people will be brought to Ireland under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme



1 October 2020


The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, T.D., has today announced that Ireland will welcome refugee families from Greece under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP). Up to 50 people in family groups will be resettled following displacement from the Moria camp on the island of Lesbos due to the recent fire that destroyed the camp.


Making the announcement, Minister McEntee said,


Like everyone, I was shocked to see the devastation caused by the fire in the Moria camp in Lesbos. It was profoundly distressing to see the pictures of families, many with young children, sleeping on the side of the road, having lost the small amount of possessions and shelter that they had.


“Ireland has always responded positively to humanitarian crises, and we won’t be found wanting on this occasion. Up to 50 people in family groups, will be resettled to Ireland from Greece under our Irish Refugee Protection Programme. They will be given every support to rebuild their lives here in peace and safety. 


“This is in addition to the commitment that we have already made with the UNCHR to resettle 2,900 refugees to Ireland over the next four years”. 


The families who will arrive from Greece have already been granted an international protection status by the Greek authorities. The Minister will grant them ‘programme refugee’ status immediately upon their arrival in Ireland. Officials from the Department of Justice and Equality are liaising with the European Commission on the detail of this commitment, and along with An Garda Síochána will travel to Greece in the coming weeks to make the arrangements.


Welcoming the announcement, Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman said:


“I very much welcome the forthcoming arrival of up to 50 people in family groups into the Irish Refugee Resettlement Programme. The outpouring of support from the Irish public for refugees in Moria over the last two weeks has been extremely heartening, and it’s a concern both I and Minister McEntee share.


“However, we all know that Ireland needs to do more in response to this ongoing humanitarian crisis. In that regard, my officials and I are working with Tusla to accelerate the arrival of additional unaccompanied refugee children from Moria, and we hope to make further announcements in due course”.




Notes for Editors


The Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) was established in 2015 in response to the migration crisis in central and southern Europe. Under this programme, the Government committed to accepting up to 4,000 people into the State, primarily through a combination of the EU Relocation Programme and the UNHCR's Refugee Resettlement Programme.  


To date, more than 3,350 people have arrived in the State under this first phase of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP).  Most of the remaining people will arrive under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme Humanitarian Admissions Programme (IHAP).  However, these people make their own travel arrangements, and so no exact timeframe can be given for when they might arrive in Ireland.


Last December, a second phase of the IRPP was announced giving a commitment to welcome a further 2,900 refugees between this year and 2023, through a combination of resettlement and community sponsorship.


In terms of resettlements, 650 refugees are to be resettled this year, 700 next year, 750 in 2022 and 800 in 2023. The arrivals for the first two years will largely comprise of Syrian refugees resident in Jordan and Lebanon, along with a pilot group of Eritrean refugees resident in Ethiopia. 


Today, Minister McEntee has announced an additional commitment under the IRPP to welcome up to 50 people in family groups from Greece following the fire that almost completely destroyed the Moria camp on the island of Lesbos in Greece. 


On 17 September, Minister O’Gorman, committed to relocating four unaccompanied minors from Greece into the care of Tusla.