Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Questions (698)

Mick Barry


698. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if he will support the relocation of at least 400 asylum seekers who are currently on Lesvos Island, Greece, and undergoing particular hardship due to the six-month lockdown in the Moria camp; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16694/21]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

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.

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 may make the journey 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.