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Refugees from the burned down camp Moria on Lesbos. DPA/PA Images

Ireland to resettle 50 people from fire-ravaged Greek refugee camp

Justice Minister Helen McEntee said today that Ireland will welcome refugee families from Greece under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme.

IRELAND IS TO resettle 50 people in families from Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos which recently burnt down in a devastating fire leaving more than 12,000 people in emergency need of shelter. 

Justice Minister Helen McEntee said today that Ireland will resettle refugee families from Greece under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP). Up to 50 people in family groups will be resettled.

Minister Roderic O’Gorman had earlier said that Ireland had committed to resettling four minors from Moria into Tusla’s care. 

“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,” said McEntee today. 

“Ireland has always responded positively to humanitarian crises, and we won’t be found wanting on this occasion.

“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,” said McEntee. 

The families arriving from Greece have already been granted International Protection status by Greek authorities.

McEntee will grant ‘Programme Refugee’ status immediately to the 50 people upon their arrival in Ireland.

Officials from the Department of Justice & 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.

A campaign launched this week is calling on the Government to evacuate and resettle 400 people from Moria in Ireland. 

Lesbos was Europe’s busiest crossing point in 2015-16 for many people during a massive westward movement of refugees, many fleeing war in Syria and Iraq and travelling through Turkey.

After that wave of migration, Greece set up camps on Lesbos and four other islands, helped with European Union funding, and more recently also set up a network of camps on the mainland.

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