Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Questions (1054, 1055, 1056, 1057, 1058, 1059, 1102)

Cian O'Callaghan

Question:

1054. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if he will expand the number of asylum seekers and refugees from Greece that Ireland has committed to relocate from 50 to 400; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15757/21]

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John Lahart

Question:

1055. Deputy John Lahart 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; if the 64 persons that Ireland has committed to admit have arrived here; his views on the call by a group (details supplied) to increase the number being admitted from the camp to 400; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15779/21]

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Joan Collins

Question:

1056. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if he is pursuing the relocation of the 50 persons (details supplied) from Lesvos, Greece; the date on which the relocation will take place; and his plans to assist the allocation of a further 400 persons to Ireland. [15781/21]

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Jackie Cahill

Question:

1057. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth his plans to accept and welcome refugees to Ireland who are in camps on the Greek island of Lesvos; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15787/21]

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Catherine Connolly

Question:

1058. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if his attention has been drawn to the recent open letter signed by over 300 medical practitioners from across Ireland calling on the Government to commit to accepting and relocating 400 refugees and asylum seekers from the Greek island of Lesvos; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15865/21]

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Brendan Howlin

Question:

1059. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth further to Parliamentary Question No. 588 of 16 October 2020, if a further offer has been made to the Greek authorities to accept into Ireland asylum seekers currently in Lesvos; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15956/21]

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Marian Harkin

Question:

1102. Deputy Marian Harkin asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if he will engage with medics in Lesbos in order to assist to urgently progress the move to Ireland of refugees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15821/21]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1055 to 1059, inclusive, and 1102 together.

I am aware of the open letter signed by healthcare professionals in Ireland concerning asylum seekers and refugees on Lesvos.

The Government pledge of last October to resettle up to 50 people from Lesvos was in addition to the commitment that Ireland had already made with the UNHCR to resettle 2,900 refugees to Ireland between 2020 and 2023. No further offer has been made to the Greek authorities.

Families have been accepted by Ireland, subject to any assessment, security or otherwise to be undertaken.

My Department is working with the Greek authorities and other relevant stakeholders to effect their relocation to Ireland as soon as possible, with due regard to Covid-19 protocols and restrictions.

In Budget 2021, I secured an additional €5m to support Tusla in providing dedicated services  to  accelerate the intake of the remaining unaccompanied refugee children in Greece to whom we have committed. Tusla have developed a range of accommodation options to receive and provide specialist care for the children. Changes at European Union level in the  procedures for managing the relocation of unaccompanied minors led to a pause in the transfer of all children.

These changes have been successfully implemented at EU level and Ireland has now received a list of unaccompanied minors who could potentially come here, following appropriate security checking and preparation.  Tusla are ready to receive these children as soon as they can travel safely. Tusla and my Department are working with the Greek authorities and the HSE to progress the safest travel and relocation options as soon as possible, within the scope of current travel and quarantine restrictions.