Expression of Interest Information

 

Background

The Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) was established by Government Decision on 10 September 2015 as a direct response to the humanitarian crisis that developed in Southern Europe as a consequence of mass migration from areas of conflict in the Middle East and Africa.   

Click here to read the Press Release announcing the Government decision.

Under this programme, the Government pledged to accept a total of 4,000 persons into the State, using the following mechanisms:

 

A multi-faceted approach was adopted to the implementation of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme including the following measures:

The Government also provided an additional package of processing resources to deal with major increases in asylum and other immigration cases, including the relocation measure, preparation for the Single Protection application process and increased enforcement across a number of areas.

 

Composition of migrant cohort

In announcing the IRPP, the Government recognised the importance of prioritising family groups and addressing the position of unaccompanied children. While statistics will fluctuate over the course of time, the majority of those arriving under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme are family groups, and 40% of whom are minors and 32% of whom are under 12.  

 

Relocation strand of the programme

Despite initial delays outside of Ireland's control in respect of the operation of the 'hotspots' on the ground in Greece, Ireland has to-date taken in a total of 320 asylum seekers from Greece under relocation, a further 141 have been cleared for arrival and are awaiting transport arrangements and another 93 have been assessed and are awaiting clearance.   A monthly schedule has been agreed with the Greek authorities which will sustain the pace of intakes throughout 2017 at the levels required to allow Ireland to meets its commitments to Greece within the time frame envisaged by the Programme.   

 

As regards Italy, the relocation mechanism from Italy has yet to commence for many countries, including Ireland, due to issues relating to the ability of Member States like Ireland to undertake security assessment in Italy of migrants prior to arrival in the country of relocation.  Intensive efforts are ongoing to resolve this, both bilaterally with Italian counterparts at official, diplomatic and Ministerial level, and at EU level, including through the European Commission.

 

The total target for relocation to Ireland in the Council Decisions also includes a further 910 persons but the country of origin for this cohort has not yet been assigned at EU level. 

 

Resettlement strand of the programme

1,040 refugees will have arrived in Ireland by the end of 2017 under the UNHCR-led resettlement programme.

 

It was previously announced that under the resettlement strand Ireland would resettle 520 refugees under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme by the end of 2017 taken directly from the Lebanon. This target was met ahead of schedule with 519 persons having arrived in Ireland by the end of 2016.  499 of these have now been resettled in the communities nationwide. In November last year the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald T.D. confirmed that Ireland has committed to taking in a further 520 refugees in 2017 from Lebanon, bringing the resettlement numbers up to 1,040

 

The first 260 of this additional 520 have already been assessed and cleared for travel and arrivals have already commenced with 42 refugees arriving from Lebanon last week.  This brings the total number of resettlement programme refugees who have arrived in the State to 561.  A further 121 approximately are due to arrive over the course of the next month and the remainder of this group of 260 will arrive in subsequent weeks.  A mission to Lebanon to select the final group required to bring the total up to the agreed 1,040 will be undertaken.  

 

Unaccompanied Minors

Ireland has also taken in four unaccompanied minors from Greece and a further  two will follow very soon. Such minors are placed in the care of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.  Ireland would like to take more unaccompanied minors and has informed Greece that Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, can take up to 20.   However, a great many of the unaccompanied minors in Greece are from nationalities which are not part of the relocation programme.  Unaccompanied minors that Ireland takes from Greece are additional to the commitments made by Ireland in respect those previously resident in the migrant camp in Calais (see below).

 

In November 2016, in a further gesture of humanitarian assistance towards the most vulnerable caught up in the migration crisis and following a Dáil debate on a motion on the plight of unaccompanied minors in Calais, the Government committed to taking up to 200 unaccompanied minors from France who were previously resident in the migrant camp at Calais. 

 

These initiatives therefore leave a small residual balance to be allocated from the Government decision to take 4,000 persons (see table).

 

Security Clearance

All persons who arrive under the asylum seeker relocation or resettlement strands of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme undergo a security assessment by highly experienced Garda officers which is conducted while they are still overseas.  This process involves an interview/s and fingerprinting. They are also interviewed by staff of the IRPP who undertake a needs and vulnerability assessment as well as providing cultural orientation.

 

Overall Allocation of the 4,000 commitment

The Table below sets out the position regarding the assignment of the 4,000.

Table of Total Numbers under Government Decision

 

Relocation Strand (asylum seekers)

 Numbers

Council Decision 2015/1523

600

Council Decision 2015/1601 

2,022

Total Relocation

2,622

 

 

Resettlement Strand (refugees)

 

Government Decision 09/06/15

520

Government Decision 06/07/16

260

Government Decision 29/11/16

260

Total Resettlement Refugee

1,040

 

 

Total Unaccompanied Minors Calais (Government Decision 10/11/16)

200 (up to)

 

 

Mechanism as yet undecided

138

 

 

Grand Total

4000

 

Conclusion

The Government remains deeply committed to delivering on its decision to accept 4,000 refugees and asylum seekers notwithstanding some of the difficulties that have been encountered so far that have been outside of Ireland's control.