Confusion remains around numbers of refugees expected in Ireland

The Immigrant Council of Ireland has said a fair and efficient process needs to be in place when refugees arrive here from the Middle East, as confusion remained over the numbers expected here.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald is to bring a memo to Cabinet tomorrow setting out Ireland's plan to accept refugees.

The council's comments came after Tánaiste Joan Burton said yesterday that the number of refugees Ireland would welcome will increase dramatically.

She said a figure of 5,000 refugees for Ireland was "in the mix" and that people would enter Ireland under a refugee programme rather than through the direct provision system.

However, there is some confusion around the number of refugees Ireland may accept, with the UN asking for only 520 Syrians to be resettled here.

The Government is also preparing for a separate request from the EU to take in an anticipated 1,800 refugees who need to be relocated from temporary camps scattered around mainland Europe.

In theory, and as reported in the

Read More:
Irish Examiner today, that could put the total Irish commitment at close to 7,000 when this time last week it was just 1,120 — 520 under the UN resettlement programme and 600 under the EU relocation programme.

Jerry O'Connor from the ICI said it was clear the numbers would increase, and that the rights of refugees needed to be a priority.

"We are in the process of beefing up our resources at our independent law centre, so that when the refugees arrive here they can have access to free legal representation so they can attain their rights," he said. "This has to be a priority now that we know the numbers are going to increase."

Confusion remains around numbers of refugees expected in Ireland

The UN High Commission for Refugees confirmed the only plan in place was for the 520 recognised refugees in camps in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey to be resettled in Ireland.

Sophie Magennis, head of the UNHCR’s Irish office said: “It’s up to the Irish authorities if they decide that they want to increase the resettlement quota. That would be fine. But under the resettlement programme at the moment, Ireland’s commitment is to taking 520.”

The Department of Justice, which is expected to take the lead in co-ordinating the Government’s response, had no information about the Tánaiste’s ambitious targets.

Of the numbers intended to come under UN resettlement, the department said: “That particular figure remains at 520. Four such refugees arrived from Lebanon on Monday, 24 August, 2015. A further 72 refugees (15 families) displaced by the Syrian conflict will arrive from Lebanon in September.”

Ms Burton’s spokesperson attempted to clarify the Tánaiste’s position last night, saying: “The Tánaiste was talking in the round about the overall number of refugees that Ireland may take over a multi-year period between both programmes.”

More on this topic

WATCH: Camerawoman sacked after tripping fleeing refugeesWATCH: Camerawoman sacked after tripping fleeing refugees

Hillary Clinton: Global effort needed to help refugeesHillary Clinton: Global effort needed to help refugees

Angry migrants march on BudapestAngry migrants march on Budapest

UK to take in 20,000 refugees, France to take 24,000, as Hungarian MP warns of terror threatUK to take in 20,000 refugees, France to take 24,000, as Hungarian MP warns of terror threat


More in this Section

Man charged over ATM thefts in Co AntrimMan charged over ATM thefts in Co Antrim

589 people are waiting on trolleys589 people are waiting on trolleys

Sports minister open to 'constructive suggestions' over possible FAI splitSports minister open to 'constructive suggestions' over possible FAI split

Three arrested in connection with Lucan murderThree arrested in connection with Lucan murder


Lifestyle

For wine-lovers, a tour of the Rioja region of northern Spain is like a visit to your very own fairytale — but with added wine, writes Anna O’DonoghueSip sip hooray in the capital of Spanish wine Spain’s wine capital

Sorting out Cork people for agesAsk Audrey: Being nice to poor kids is everything that is wrong about Christmas

Ever wondered if liqueurs or drink-laced Christmas puddings might put you over the drink-driving limit? Pat Fitzpatrick picks up a breathalyser and puts six sweet treats to the testDo these boozy treats put you over the drink-driving limit?

Kya deLongchamps investigates the history behind the mythCan you really be arrested for eating a mince pie on Christmas Day in Britain?

More From The Irish Examiner