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Tánaiste agrees to allow an extra 260 refugees resettle in Ireland

Some 273 asylum seekers have already arrived here from Lebanon.

A family embraces after arriving on a vessel from the Turkish coast to the Greek island of Lesbos.
A family embraces after arriving on a vessel from the Turkish coast to the Greek island of Lesbos.
Image: Muhammed Muheisen/AP/PA

TÁNAISTE FRANCES FITZGERALD has confirmed Ireland will accept an additional 260 refugees under the EU resettlement programme.

She said there has already been significant progress with the programme, as 273 of the 520 refugees the government had agreed to accept have already arrived from Lebanon. The remainder will be here by the autumn.

“This is in advance of the EU deadline and clearly demonstrates Ireland’s continued proactive approach to resolving this unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Yesterday I informed the government of my decision to send a further mission to Lebanon in the autumn to select an additional 260 refugees to be admitted in Spring 2017,” Fitzgerald commented

My decision reflects the government’s commitment to welcome vulnerable refugees fleeing war and conflict and is another positive step towards delivering on Ireland’s overall commitment to accept 4000 persons. Once in Ireland, these refugees will have access to vital health and education services. Our focus will be on helping them to rebuild their lives here in Ireland.

Some 250 of the refugees who have already arrived, all displaced by the Syrian conflict, have completed their initial language training and orientation programmes. Two dedicated emergency reception and orientation centres have been set up to accommodate them – at the Hazel Hotel in Monasterevin and the Clonea Strand Hotel in Dungarvan.

The remainder of the quota of 520 refugees are being health screened in Lebanon at present prior to transfer to Ireland.

Fitzgerald also spoke of the “slower than anticipated arrival” of asylum seekers from Greece and Italy, which she said were due to administrative issues in those countries.

A further 28 Syrians arrived in Ireland in the last couple of weeks under relocation from Greece. I am aware that progress regarding the relocation of persons from Italy and Greece has been slower than we would have wanted, but this should not be taken as any diminution of our commitment to delivering on this part of the programme.

“The delay has been largely outside of our control and my officials have been working closely with their Greek and Italian counterparts on this issue, ” she explained.

“The Greek authorities have now agreed that they will double the numbers available for transfer to Ireland to 40 persons every four weeks with the prospect of this number increasing further later in the year. In effect this means that the relocation strand will now be fully operational.”

Read: Denmark has confiscated thousands of euros from immigrants under controversial new laws>

Read: One out of every 113 people on the planet is displaced or a refugee>

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