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Tánaiste and Children's Minister to visit migrant camps in Greece

Greece and Italy have been the first point of entry for most of the more than one million migrants since 2015.

Refugees walk outside the Moria refugee camp on the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos.
Refugees walk outside the Moria refugee camp on the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos.
Image: Lefteris Pitarakis

THE TÁNAISTE FRANCES Fitzgerald and Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone will visit migrant camps as part of a three-day trip to Greece which starts today.

A statement says the visit “provides an opportunity to see at first hand the effects of the migration crisis on both migrants as well as Greek society and will provide an opportunity to assess progress to date and how to further build on that progress.

As part of a full agenda they will:

  • Visit reception camps and meet migrants, children and staff;
  • Meet senior Greek Ministers and their staff;
  • Meet Irish officials working with migrants in Greece;
  • Meet migrants, refugees, their children and unaccompanied minors;
  • Meet Greek NGO’s, Médicins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), UNHCR, UNICEF and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) OXFAM

The Tánaiste said the Irish Refugee Protection Programme was “making real progress”.

“This visit provides an opportunity to engage directly with the Greek authorities as well as people working on the frontline and to further demonstrate Ireland’s commitment to playing a full part in International efforts to resolve this crisis. It is also about offering people fleeing war and devastation the chance to rebuild their lives in Ireland.”

By the end of 2016, it is expected that 400 people will have arrived or been cleared for arrival to Ireland from Greece under the EU programme.

This is in addition to Ireland’s intake of programme refugees from Lebanon under the resettlement strand of the IRPP. Ireland has committed to take 520 Syrian refugees in 2016. 507 refugees are already in Ireland and the balance will arrive in the coming days. Ireland has further committed to take another 520 programme refugees in 2017.

Greece and Italy have been the first point of entry for most of the more than one million migrants who have entered the EU since 2015.

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