Cabinet to sign off on arrival of Calais Jungle children

The Cabinet is to sign off on taking in children from the former ‘Jungle’ refugee camp in Calais.

Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone will bring a memo to the Cabinet today to give effect to a Dáil motion to begin the intake of 200 unaccompanied minors who had been living in the unofficial camp before it was demolished.

The cross party Dáil motion to help unaccompanied children in The Jungle camp was agreed in November.

Ms Zappone said: “These children have been bombed or placed in flimsy boats by ruthless people smugglers or sold into human trafficking. Only those with the coldest of hearts would not be moved into action.

“No child wishing to reach the safety of our communities should be confronted by barriers. Ireland has a human- itarian record that is second to none and we have a duty to these children who are vulnerable and open to exploitation,” she said ahead of the first cabinet meeting of this year.

Officials from Ms Zappone’s office and the Child and Family Agency Tusla met with their French counterparts last week to establish legal avenues, interview and validation processes for the unaccompanied asylum-seeking children to come to Ireland.

Around 40 unaccompanied minors will initially be assessed in France, and a timeframe is to be agreed for children who have been assessed and approved to relocate to Ireland.

The full year cost to Tusla to provide the new places for the unaccompanied minors is estimated to be around €10m.

Separately, Junior Finance Minister Eoghan Murphy is to bring the International Financial Services Action Plan 2017 to the Government which will focus on bringing high-skilled jobs to the regions and capitalising on Brexit. Mr Murphy has previously said the second financial services hub outside Dublin must be developed and Cork would be the ideal location for this.


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