The EU Justice and Home Affairs Council today formally adopted the decision to relocate 40,000 people in need of international protection.
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald stated that Ireland will immediately move to implement the measure and she would expect a significant number of the 600 applicants to be relocated to Ireland within the next few months.
As part of the Presidency Conclusions presented at the end of the Council it was noted that there was agreement in principle by the vast majority of member states on the proposed relocation of an additional 120,000 people.
This additional measure is intended to further ease the burden currently being experienced by frontline Member States and the details of the proposal will be brought before the Justice and Home Affairs Council in October.
Commenting on the outcome of today’s Council Minister Fitzgerald said: "This is a humanitarian crisis which has continued to escalate and to which there are no simple answers.
"No one State can deal with this issue on their own and a coherent EU-wide response is needed. I have made it clear to our EU partners that Ireland will work closely and collaboratively with them.
"Today’s Council was another step towards establishing a much needed response to the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in.
"I am confident that we will take the next steps when Ministers meet again in Luxembourg in October."
The Minister explained that Ireland’s decision to opt-in comes not only out of a desire to help those seeking protection but also out of a desire to express solidarity with our EU partners who are under pressure from the sheer volume of migrants arriving daily.
Minister Fitzgerald said: "Ireland has always lived up to its international humanitarian obligations and we are fully committed to playing our part in addressing the migration crisis facing Europe."
In response to Minister Fitzgerald’s intervention the Luxembourg Presidency warmly welcomed the contribution made by Ireland and the decision to opt-in to the two relocation decisions.
The Justice and Home Affairs Ministers are scheduled to meet again in Luxembourg on the 8th and 9th of October.