Belfast Telegraph

Ireland to accept 2,900 refugees over next four years

The refugees will arrive in Ireland through a combination of resettlement and community sponsorship.

The decision was revealed by the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, pictured, and the Minister of State David Stanton (Brian Lawless/PA)
The decision was revealed by the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, pictured, and the Minister of State David Stanton (Brian Lawless/PA)

By Cate McCurry, PA

Ireland is to accept up to 2,900 refugees over the next four years under new plans unveiled on Tuesday.

The refugees will arrive in Ireland through a combination of resettlement and community sponsorship.

Under the plans, a new phase of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) will see 650 resettlements in 2020, 700 in 2021, 750 in 2022 and 800 in 2023.

The decision was revealed by the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and the Minister of State David Stanton.

The arrivals for the first two years will largely comprise Syrian refugees living in Jordan and Lebanon, along with a pilot group of 150 Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia.

The IRPP was established by the Government in September 2015 as part of Ireland’s response to the global humanitarian migration crisis.

It committed to accept 4,000 people under various strands, including the EU Relocation Mechanism and UNHCR-led resettlement programme.

As of now, 3,151 people have arrived in Ireland under the programme including 51 refugees who arrived on Tuesday.

The European Commission will provide funding of nine million euro to support the resettlement of 900 people between early 2020 and June 2021.

It is important that Ireland continues to play its part in acting as a safe haven for people in need of protection and humanitarian support David Stanton

Mr Flanagan said: “The humanitarian situation in a number of regions around the world remains particularly acute.

“In Syria alone there are over 11 million people, including six million children, that are desperate for help.

“It is only right and proper that Ireland plays its part and offers a helping hand to those less fortunate than ourselves.

“This new phase of the IRPP will build on the work we have been doing since 2015 to resettle thousands of people.

“I’m proud that as a dedicated and active member of the international community, we continue to uphold our responsibilities in helping those fleeing the most harrowing circumstances including war and persecution.

“My Department is working on a whole of Government basis to ensure that appropriate services are in place for those coming to Ireland as part of resettlement programmes now and in the period to 2023.”

Mr Stanton said: “Faced with the largest flows of displaced people since the Second World War, it is vital that we act – collectively, determinedly and urgently, to implement the Global Compact on Refugees.

“It is important that Ireland continues to play its part in acting as a safe haven for people in need of protection and humanitarian support.

“This new phase of the IRPP will take up to 2,900 people between 2020 and 2023 through a combination of resettlement and community sponsorship.

“We want to ensure that refugees who arrive in Ireland feel fully integrated into the community.

“That is why we want to expand our Community Sponsorship programme as it enables everyday people to support refugees and to extend hands of friendship and welcome to them when they arrive to Ireland.”

He appealed to communities and people across Ireland who want to help refugees to consider the newly launched Community Sponsorship Programme and to set up groups in their own areas.

PA

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