300 Afghan citizens 'to arrive in Ireland within weeks' under refugee and reunification programmes

300 Afghan citizens 'to arrive in Ireland within weeks' under refugee and reunification programmes

AN ESTIMATED 300 Afghan citizens are expected to arrive in Ireland in the coming weeks, following the devastation in Afghanistan as the Taliban takes over the country.

Around 300 people will be welcomed to Ireland under both refugee and family reunification programmes, RTÉ News reports.

Minister Simon Coveney had already confirmed that Ireland would accept 150 refugees fleeing the Taliban, and would be waiving visas for 45 Afghan citizens who escaped the country.

He added that "a lot more" refugees are expected to arrive in Ireland  over the coming weeks and months as Ireland joins dozens of nations in offering a helping hand to the desperate Afghan citizens trying to escape the country.

Five of the refugees are women with university qualifications in the science and technology industries, who have already fled Afghanistan after being targeted by the fundamentalist Taliban.

A Taliban fighter walks past a beauty salon with images of women defaced using spray paint in Shar-e-Naw in Kabul on August 18, 2021.(Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

They, along with over 150 others, will be resettled under Ireland's Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP).

RTÉ News reports that over 100 other Afghan citizens will be welcomed to Ireland as part of the family reunion programme, which allows family member to join a relative who is already living in Ireland.

These 103 people have already applied for family reunification, and their applications will be fast-tracked following the devastation in Afghanistan.

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O'Gorman told  RTÉ News At One that his department are focused on bringing the most vulnerable members of the new Afghan society to Ireland under the refugee programme.

These include women, children and human rights defenders who could be a target for the Taliban.

It is unclear when exactly the Afghan citizens will arrive in Ireland as there are no direct flights and they will spend some time in another country before being welcomed, however it is expected that the estimated 300 people will arrive in the coming weeks.