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Ireland is nowhere near close to settling its share of Syrian refugees

Ireland has pledged to take in 4,000 people by the end of next year and so far about 500 have been accepted.

Volunteers help migrants on a dingy as they arrive at the shore of the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos.
Volunteers help migrants on a dingy as they arrive at the shore of the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

IRELAND HAS TAKEN in just one Syrian family as part of the State’s latest pledge under the EU relocation programme.

In September 2015, Ireland said it would take in 4,000 people by the end of 2017 under the EU’s relocation programme which sought to ease the migration crisis in Southern Europe.

Speaking in the Dáil last week, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said that to date, 10 people have arrived in the State under the programme.

“This single Syrian family were relocated from Greece at the end of January,” she said.

Since 2011, Ireland has taken in further people fleeing the Syrian conflict under a number of other programmes that Fitzgerald also provided updates on.

The Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) has been running since last year and 264 people have come to Ireland so far under the scheme. The IRPP is focused on relocating people who’ve been displaced from Syria to neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

The government says that a further 357 people have been interviewed in Lebanon with a view to relocating them to Ireland.

Two years ago, the State also initiated the Syrian Humanitarian Admission Programme. It allowed Irish citizens of Syrian birth and Syrian nationals already legally resident in Ireland to apply to bring vulnerable family members to Ireland for up to two years.

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Other Syrians legally in Ireland on a temporary basis, studying for example, were also given permission to stay to avoid returning to the warzone.

In total, 119 people were approved status in Ireland under this scheme.

Ireland has also been accepting refugees under the State’s regular national asylum procedure with a total of 107 Syrians granted refugee status since the war broke out in 2011.

“These are applicants who were granted status having made applications for protection either within Ireland or at the frontiers of the State,” the minister said.

Read: Amnesty calls EU migrant deal ‘flawed, illegal and immoral’ >

Read: Footage from this morning shows Turkish coastguard ‘attacking’ migrant dinghy >

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Rónán Duffy

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