Refugees and Ireland
Progress to date
520 refugees are to be resettled in Ireland by 31 December 2017, of whom 273 have been admitted from Lebanon to date since 20 July 2015 (date of Council Conclusions on resettlement). Sufficient cases were selected during a selection mission to Lebanon in January 2016 to fill the rest of the quota by the end of the summer. They have been security screened and are in the process of being health screened at present. They are expected to arrive between July and September.
250 of the 273 refugees admitted to Ireland to date have completed their initial language training and orientation programme in one of the two Emergency Reception and Orientation Centres opened to date (see below) and have been resettled in housing in Kerry, Cork, Clare and Limerick. Twenty-three refugees who are more recently arrived are completing their language training and education programmes in the Emergency Reception and Orientation centres.
A further 247 refugees will be admitted from Lebanon between July and September 2017.
So far 38 Syrians have arrived in Ireland under the relocation scheme. They are housed in the same Emergency Reception and Orientation Centre as the resettled refugees and benefitted from a similar programme once their asylum application had been determined.
The slow pace of the relocation programme is mainly due to difficulties in getting migrants to register in Italy and Greece. The pace is expected to pick up significantly and the Greek authorities have agreed that they will double the numbers available for transfer to Ireland to 40 persons every 4 weeks.
Some technical issues have arisen with regard to the programme in Italy. Government officials are working closely with the authorities in Italy to resolve these.
The relocation programme intends to utilise integration mechanisms similar to those in use by the established and successful refugee resettlement programme. The methodology in use has been outlined above under the “Refugee Resettlement Programme”. Emergency Reception and Orientation Centres (EROCs): Two dedicated EROCs are in operation – the Hazel Hotel in Monasterevin and the Clonea Strand Hotel in Dungarvan.
Like many of the organisations working in this area, we feel the government’s response is too slow and is inadequate and while we continue to engage with them we also advocating with others and have presented proposals for change.
Meeting with Religious Bodies and Leaders with the Department of Justice and Equality
The second meeting of Religious Bodies and Leaders with the Minister of State David Stanton T.D., Department of Justice and Equality and the Irish Red Cross on Wednesday 6th July 2016. AMRI were represented at this meeting.
The purpose of the meeting was to update us on the situation of refugees and the Government’s response to date and to listen to the response from the faith groups. The Irish Red Cross presented their findings on the number of properties that have been offered but they still have to investigate the setting up of a tenancy board and putting in place a licence agreement with the donor of the property. They are also working on a dispute resolution mechanism but still were unable to answer questions about who would take overall responsibility for the maintenance of the property and liaising with the tenants. Minister Stanton assured us that his door is open and he is willing to listen to our suggestions and while this is encouraging, we all noted the lack of progress made by the government in resolving some of the questions which we submitted at our first meeting back in January 2016. Another meeting will be scheduled once the Dail resumes in September.