Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (392)

Jennifer Whitmore

Question:

392. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the status of the transfer of families and unaccompanied children from the Moria camp, Greece, to Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2909/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

Ireland strongly supports the principle of solidarity and recognises that assistance is required for Member States who face a disproportionate number of applicants and particularly where incidences such as that which occurred in the Moria camp in Lesbos can cause additional hardship.

I am working to accelerate the reception of these additional refugees which we have committed to accept, in particular the unaccompanied minors. However, the arrival of refugees in Ireland may not occur until the Greek authorities have completed their assessment of the situation on the ground in Greece. To date no refugees from the Moria Camp have departed Greece for Ireland. Ireland has committed to accept 50 individuals, comprising family units, and additional unaccompanied minors.

I was pleased to secure an additional €5 million in budget 2021 to support the intake of unaccompanied minors from Greece under the International Protection Programme and a number of options are being progressed by Tusla and my officials to expand the number of available care placements. These include the development of specialised foster care placements and the provision of aftercare supports when children turn 18. The intention is that any rapid expansion does not negatively impact the quality of the service provided.

My officials continue to engage with Tusla to prepare for the arrival of the unaccompanied refugee children formerly living in the Moria Camp. Tusla was also allocated an additional €61M in Budget 2021. A portion of these additional resources will support Tusla to meet our commitments to transfer an additional 28 unaccompanied minors in Greece to Ireland as quickly as possible. I am confident that we will be in a position to fully achieve our existing commitment and the additional resources provided in Budget 2021 will ensure such transfers can take place on a consistent and sustainable basis.