Ministers Flanagan and Stanton welcome final arrivals from Greece under EU relocation programme
Final 129 asylum seekers relocated from Greece arrive this afternoon
Signals the successful conclusion of Irish participation in relocation from Greece
1,022 asylum seekers have now been relocated to Ireland in addition to 792 programme refugees
Resettlement of programme refugees to continue
23 March 2018
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, and the Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton TD, today welcomed the arrival of 129 people into Ireland under the EU’s relocation programme. The Ministers are pleased to announce that this signifies the successful conclusion of Ireland’s participation in the EU relocation programme in Greece. Ireland has now received all the asylum seekers available for relocation to Ireland from Greece following the arrival of a special charter flight in Baldonnel this afternoon.
Today’s final flight contained 73 adults and 56 children, 36 of whom are under the age of 12. It was a charter flight organised by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) with whom the IRPP work closely on a range of fronts. The flight arrived into the Permanent Defence Forces Air Corps base in Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel.
The EU relocation programme in Greece officially closes on 31 March 2018 and under this strand Ireland has now relocated 1,022 asylum seekers, in addition to the 792 programme refugees who have already been resettled in Ireland directly from Lebanon. Efforts will now be focused on delivering on the continuing commitments under the resettlement strand of the IRPP, working closely with the UNHCR, and on the new humanitarian family reunification scheme (FRHAP). Between these two strands Ireland has committed to bringing in a further 1,723 people.
The Ministers thanked the staff of the IRPP, the International Protection Office (IPO) and An Garda Síochána for their work in bringing this part of the IRPP to a successful conclusion. These agencies have met and interviewed the relocation applicants in Athens and IPO staff have liaised with the Greek authorities and international bodies in relation to their travel to Ireland. The IPO will also be processing their applications for international protection. The Ministers also expressed their appreciation to all organisations involved in the delivery of the IRPP, those represented on the National Taskforce and all those in the voluntary, civil society and NGO sector who are working hard to welcome and make a better life for those resettling in Ireland under the IRPP.
The Irish Red Cross was also in Baldonnel today to welcome the arrivals. The charity provided hygiene kits to every single person on the flight while baby kits were also given to the infants. The Irish Red Cross also supplied the coaches for transport from Baldonnel; these coaches were accompanied by two Irish Red Cross ambulances manned by four volunteers who were on hand to provide assistance, if required. Altogether, 20 flights under the relocation strand of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) have been supported in a similar fashion by the Irish Red Cross. The Irish Red Cross supports the resettlement and integration of those who come into Ireland under the relocation strand of the IRPP.
Note for editors:
Relocation and Resettlement are two separate programmes both of which Ireland has opted to participate in as part of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP)
Relocation means the EU relocation programme established by two EU Council Decisions in 2015 to assist Italy and Greece as a result of the migration crisis. These EU Council Decisions covered the relocation of up to 160,000 asylum seekers who fell into specific nationalities based on EU asylum recognition rates. In practice, this related to the relocation of mainly Syrian nationals from Greece and Eritrean nationals from Italy. Relocated asylum seekers have their application for international protection examined on arrival in the State.
Resettlement refers to the admission of persons under the UNHCR-led refugee resettlement programme, which is currently focussed on resettling mainly Syrian refugees from Lebanon. Persons admitted to the State under the resettlement programme receive “programme refugee” status on arrival in Ireland.