Ireland asked to take only 20 asylum seekers under EU plan

Ireland has been asked to take in just 20 asylum seekers under a stuttering European Union scheme aimed at relocating 160,000 people from war-torn states such as Syria and Iraq.

In all, 20 applications have been made to the Irish authorities, a figure the Department of Justice acknowledged was “very low”.

In addition to the asylum seeker relocation programme, the Government has committed to taking in 520 refugees under a long-standing programme run in conjunction with the UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency.

Some 176 refugees – 149 Syrians and 27 Iraqis – entered the State last year under this programme.

Of these, 67 have completed language and orientation training and have been resettled in counties Cork, Kerry, Laois and Tipperary.

In all, the Government has committed to receiving 4,000 people under relocation and resettlement programmes by the end of 2017.

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