I can assure the Deputy that I am committed to continuing to work with our EU partners, including Greece, to resolve these specific issues and to ensure that humanitarian and legal obligations are fully met.
Border control measures across Europe must be without prejudice to the rights of refugees and other people requesting international protection. While Member States have the sovereign right to control entry into their territory, they must exercise this right in line with the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights.
It is also imperative that our international partners, such as Turkey, stand by their commitments to prevent irregular departures and to facilitate return operations without delay.
On the wider migration issue, I have consistently ensured that Ireland voices its support for EU efforts to put in place more effective and humane arrangements to manage the migratory pressures which the EU continues to face. The EU Commission’s “New Pact on Migration and Asylum” represents an opportunity to renew efforts to put in place such arrangements. This proposal from the Commission includes a new independent monitoring mechanism for all Member States which would examine any reports of ‘pushbacks’ at the borders. While discussions on the Pact are continuing, Ireland will continue to be a constructive participant in trying to find sustainable solutions to the wider migration issue, involving consensus among Member States and based on a balance of solidarity and responsibility.