Housing problems in Ireland remain the “most significant challenge” to relocating refugees here, according to high-level advice given to the justice minister.
Briefing material for Frances Fitzgerald also notes that the State could “intervene” to address a problem of high insurance premiums and legal costs.
The 78-page brief outlines priorities for the minister in relation to policing, immigration, and equality.
Ireland has committed to taking 4,000 people, including 2,620 asylum seekers, from European hotspots under a relocation programme and a further 520 refugees from Lebanon under a resettlement programme. Most are currently in Italy and Greece, having fled war-torn regions such as Syria, Eritrea, and Iraq, while those being resettled are coming from UN camps after escaping Syria.
Three Department of Justice fact-finding missions to Lebanon, involving gardaí, concluded that “the majority of the male applicants [for resettlement here] have suffered torture or trauma”.
Resettled adult refugees are initially accommodated in Monasterevin, Co Kildare, and Dungarvan, Co Waterford, while teenagers are placed in local schools. Families are later transferred to Cork, Kerry, Limerick, or Clare.
Numbers arriving here under the separate relocation programme are minimal and so far include a Syrian family of 10 who moved to Ireland from Greece. Further arrivals are planned.
The report states: “As with the resettlement programme, the most significant challenge facing the relocation programme is sourcing appropriate housing.”
Increased pressure on local health services to help those arriving is also envisaged, states the report, along with accessing GP services, securing school placements, and childcare services.