IRELAND IS SENDING representatives to Greece as part of plans to bring more lone migrant children here from the Mediterranean and Calais.
Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone has announced a three-day mission to Greece that will seek to identify lone children who wish to come to Ireland to restart their lives.
Experts from Túsla, the Child and Family Agency, leave for Greece today as Ireland seeks to fulfill and exceed its promise to provide a home for 20 unaccompanied children.
“While my department and Túsla does respond to the needs of an average of 100-lone-children who arrive in Ireland each year,” the minister said.
The minister has said that she wants Túsla to speed up its efforts in relocating refugee children to Ireland and also to identify if additional resources are needed.
It’s estimated by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) that 90,000 unaccompanied children arrived in Europe in 2015. In Greece, 1,604 children are waiting for appropriate shelter.
The UNHCR’s Ireland office is also pushing for greater movement on the Irish relocation of unaccompanied refugee children. It says that special protection is needed for these children and that their families should also be brought here if they can be tracked.
“Measures, including family tracing, must be taken to identify solutions which are in the best interests of the child,” according to UNHCR Ireland’s Enda O’Neill.