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Thursday 1 June 2023 Dublin: 15°C
Leah Farrell/ Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney.
# Afghanistan
Two more Irish citizens evacuated from Afghanistan
A total of eight Irish citizens have now been evacuated, with 34 remaining in the country.

TWO MORE IRISH citizens have been evacuated from Afghanistan, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s This Week, Coveney said that a total of eight Irish citizens have gotten out of Afghanistan, with 34 still in the country.

23 of them are adults and 11 are dependants, he said. The remaining Irish citizens are a mixture of “Irish-only citizens” working in the country with NGOs or the UN, and Afghan Irish citizens who were visiting family in their home country.

“We’re fully committed to all 34, we’re staying in close contact with them through the embassy in Abu Dhabi”, Coveney said, adding that the situation is “very fluid and difficult”.

He also said that Irish citizens trying to leave Afghanistan should not travel to the airport unless they are advised to do so by the Irish Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

“This is a very complicated and difficult situation for all the countries that are present in Kabul airport trying to get their citizens out. We are working with many of them to try to get Irish citizens on planes that are leaving,” he added.

“Some of the Irish people that have got out in the last 48 hours were on a plane organised by Germany, and we are very grateful to them.”

“But they have their own decisions to make”, he said, “and they have many, many more citizens than we have across Afghanistan that they are trying to evacuate”.

When asked if he was concerned for the safety of Irish citizens in Afghanistan, Coveney said: “No one really knows what’s going to happen in Afghanistan.”

‘We’ve seen some propaganda from them in the last few days saying there is nothing to fear. We’ve also heard lots of examples of Taliban inspections in people’s homes, burning of passports and intimidation. This is a very volatile and concerning situation.”

He said that family reunification requests from Afghanistan will be prioritised by the Department of Justice, but added: “It’s very clear that we would like to welcome Afghan citizens that are at risk in their own country to Ireland, particularly if their family is already here. It’s another thing actually facilitating their evacuation and getting them out in the coming days, that’s a real challenge.”

“The priority has to be to get Irish citizens out, first and foremost, and then to be as generous as we possibly can in terms of our refugee settlement programme and also family reunification and we will be generous on both of those accounts.”

He said the number of people who will be coming to Ireland under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme is closer to 200, including 45 Afghan staff who had been working for EU organisations, and then 150 from NGOs, media, and humanitarian workers.

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