Less than a third of promised 4,000 refugees settled here

Crew members of the LÉ Niamh as they rescue refugees in the Mediterranean. Picture: PA

Less than a third of the 4,000 refugees the Government promised to accept by the end of the 2017 have been resettled here, according to the most recent figures released ahead of World Refugee Day on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, charities have called for a reversal of parts of the International Protection Act 2015, which narrowed the definition of family and removed the possibility for refugees to apply for extended family members to joint them in Ireland.

President Michael D Higgins has also highlighted the plight of refugees and the importance of international co-operation to support them.

“This year, as the world continues to struggle to find effective solutions to the horrors and fears created by wars, crises and violent attacks, as well as to the unprecedented levels of displacement they provoke, we should use World Refugee Day to strengthen our resolve to unite, and face these challenges together,” he said.

A total of 1,238 refugees have moved to Ireland since the Irish Refugee Protection Programme was announced in September 2015.

Almost 780 refugees moved from Lebanon and nearly 460 came from camps in Greece. A further 260 refugees will be brought to Ireland from the Lebanon by the end of the year, the Department of Justice has said, as will 320 people in Greece, who have been assessed and cleared for travel.

The Irish Refugee and Migration Coalition, an umbrella body for asylum and migration organisations, has called on the Government to reunite refugee families.

Nick Henderson, chief executive of the Irish Refugee Council, an affiliate of the coalition, said because of the change in family reunification rules, “hundreds of families will continue to be separated”, and “loved ones will remain in volatile and hostile areas as they have no other way out”.

Oxfam Ireland, also an affiliate of the coalition, called on the newly appointed Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, to urgently reverse the 2015 restrictions on family reunification.


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