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Syrians in Ireland ask for 94 family members to be rescued from conflict

The Department of Justice is currently deciding whether to grant temporary residence to the relatives of Irish Syrians still caught up in the conflict.

Ibrahim Abdulghani, 32, descends from the 2,814-metere Mount Hermon. He works as a construction worker during the day in Lebanon and volunteers at night to help Syrians escape.
Ibrahim Abdulghani, 32, descends from the 2,814-metere Mount Hermon. He works as a construction worker during the day in Lebanon and volunteers at night to help Syrians escape.
Image: Hussein Malla/AP/Press Association Images

IRELAND HAS RECEIVED 94 applications from Syrians living in Ireland, asking for vulnerable members of their family still caught up in the conflict to be allowed to travel and reside here.

The requests were made ahead of the 30 April deadline for the Humanitarian Admission Programme (SHAP), announced by Alan Shatter earlier this year.

People currently still in Syria or those who have fled to neighbouring countries were eligible to apply through their relatives in Ireland.

At the time, then-Minister for Justice, Shatter, said the situation in Syria had reached “catastrophic proportions” and Ireland needed to do more to “allay the concerns of family members who are present here about their most vulnerable family members”.

He said it was also important to show solidarity to Syria’s neighbours, including the Lebanon and Turkey, which have been shouldering the burden of the refugee crisis since 2011.

Responding to a written parliamentary question this week, Frances Fitzgerald confirmed the number of applications received, adding that the 94 were currently being processed.

She explained the scheme was established following approaches to government by members of the Syrian community in Ireland.

“The programme allows naturalised Irish citizens of Syrian birth and Syrian nationals already lawfully resident in the State to make an application for vulnerable close family members to join them in Ireland on a temporary basis for up to two years,” explains the Minister.

“These are persons who are considered by their sponsoring family member present in Ireland to be most at risk.

“A sponsor may be a single person or the head of a family unit. Persons admitted under the programme will be entitled to work, establish a business, or invest in the State.”

There are strict obligations for the applicants in that the person “should not become a burden on the State”.

If these family members cannot find employment the onus will be on the sponsors to support them during their time in Ireland.

This initiative is separate to Ireland’s previous announcement that it will welcome 90 refugees to the State this year.

Since the war broke out in Syria in March 2011, some 71 applications for asylum have been received by the State. The vast majority have been accepted with the applicants being declared refugees.

About nine million Syrians have had to leave their homes over the past three years, with about 2.8 million seeking refuge in the neigbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. The majority remain in Syria, displaced and in dire need of humanitarian assistance. The United Nations expect this figure to jump to 4.1 million by the end of this year.

In its most recent response plane, the UNHCR described the situation as “one of the largest refugee exoduses in recent history, with no end yet in sight”.

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Under 100,000 people have declared asylum in Europe, with some offered resettlement.

Related: Syrian refugees to be offered temporary residence in Ireland

More: Ireland will take in 90 Syrian refugees this year

Related: Syrian refugees to be offered temporary residence in Ireland

More: Ireland will take in 90 Syrian refugees this year

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