Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (441)

Bernard Durkan


441. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the degree to which he continues to encourage colleagues at EU and UN levels to address the issue of the ever-increasing number of refugees who are forced to risk their lives while attempting improve their quality of life and economic well-being; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38715/20]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Ireland is a long-standing advocate for these issues, including at the EU and the UN. For example, in 2016, Ireland co-facilitated the UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants. This Summit agreed the New York Declaration, which led to the Global Compact for Refugees and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

In October, Minister Coveney addressed the Executive Committee of the UNHCR, the UN's refugee agency, underlining Ireland’s strong support for the work it does for displaced persons throughout the world. In 2020, Ireland is providing over €18.5 million in funding to UNHCR, the highest level in more than a decade.

Both within the EU and the UN, a distinction is made between refugees and migrants and it is the latter group whose primary motive is to improve the quality of life and economic well-being. Ireland has repeatedly called for greater solidarity and burden-sharing among EU Member States in dealing with the wider issue of migration.

The conflict in Syria has caused a major refugee and migration crisis. This year Ireland will disburse €25 million in assistance, including support to refugees in neighbouring countries. Ireland is also party to the EU response to the Syria migration crisis, contributing over €38 million. Last month, following the devastating fire in the refugee centre in Lesbos, Greece, Ireland announced a commitment to resettle up to 50 people in families.

Ireland is also working closely with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the leading inter-governmental organisation in the field of migration. Our financial support has been increased to €1 million in 2020.

To address some of the causes of irregular mass migration Ireland supports the EU’s Trust Fund for Africa which aims to address irregular migration from Africa by improving employment opportunities and strengthening resilience of communities including refugees and other displaced people. Ireland is the third-highest per capita EU Member State donor with a total contribution of €15.8 million.