The much-criticised direct provision system will be able to cope with 600 extra refugees being brought to Ireland in September as part of an EU deal, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has said.
While human rights agencies have called for more resources to be put into the resettlement of the people mainly fleeing wars in Syria and Eritrea, Ms Fitzgerald said Ireland would not do badly by the refugees.
The direct provision system, where some 4,000 asylum seekers are held for up to nine years before a decision is made on their status, has been branded “inhumane” by Aodhán Ó Riordáin, the junior minister responsible for it. Ms Fitzgerald said the new arrivals would be classed originally as asylum seekers and assessed in the normal way.
Head of the Ireland office of the UNHCR, Sophie Magenniss, warned that extra resources needed to be place when the refugees arrive in order to process their status quickly.
Ms Fitzgerald said that the resettlement was a solidarity issue with other member states as the EU agreed to take in 32,000 as a whole.
“In Ireland, we’ve agreed that 600 individuals would be relocated from Italy and Greece over the next two years starting from September,” said Ms Fitzgerald.
“We already have 520 resettlements, that’s people who are already refugees. They have been selected most specifically as people that are most likely to be eligible for refugee status because they are from states, mostly Syrian and Eritrea, where there is an 84% recognition of refugee status, that they are escaping persecution.”
Ms Fitzgerald added that a surge of immigrants into Europe, some rescued by the Irish navy, had led-to a “crisis” in the EU.
“The whole question of accommodation across Europe is a major crisis at present,” she said.
“We want to do the best that we can here. There are improvements to be made, but in terms of direct provision here I would say that young children are going to local primary schools and secondary schools, we want to support people as much as we can, there are a series of recommendations.”
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