Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (706)

Catherine Connolly


706. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice her plans to accept and grant international protection to refugees affected by the fires in the Moria refugee camp in Greece; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26612/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

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

My colleagues Minister O'Gorman announced on 17 September a commitment to accept four unaccompanied minors from the camp.  In addition to this commitment, I have asked officials to examine the options which might exist to relocate other cohorts of people impacted, and they are currently liaising with colleagues at EU level in relation to the legal mechanisms by which this might be done. I expect to reach a decision in relation to this matter over the coming days.

In a previous gesture of solidarity, Ireland committed to accepting up to 36 unaccompanied minors from Greece.  Eight of these young people arrived in Ireland in June and are now in the care of Tusla.

More broadly, to date, more than 3,350 people have arrived in the State under the first phase of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme. Last December, a second phase was announced giving a commitment to welcome a further 2,900 refugees between this year and 2023 through a combination of resettlement and community sponsorship.