GOOD news for refugees in Ireland who are separated from their family.
Ireland’s Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has announced plans to reunite up to 530 asylum seekers with their family members in Ireland.
Furthermore, the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) has agreed to accept up to 4,000 asylum seekers and refugees in 2018.
The news comes as just last week, despite government opposition, a Private Member’s Bill to allow refugees to bring extended family to Ireland passed to committee stage.
Minister Flanagan opposed the bill as work was already underway to impose new reunification procedures for immediate family members not covered by law.
Details as to when the family members and additional refugees will be arriving will be announced in the coming weeks.
Speaking after the Cabinet meeting in which Minister Flanagan made the announcement, he said: “Family reunification is an important part of the process of integration for refugees in Ireland. I will operate this humanitarian admission programme under my Ministerial discretionary powers and it will be in addition to the family reunification provisions provided for in the International Protection Act 2015.”
“It signifies our ongoing commitment to supporting the most vulnerable refugees by providing a safe haven and a welcoming environment to rebuild their lives here in Ireland. I am proud of the compassionate and welcome response to the Irish people to those fleeing harrowing conflicts, particularly in Syria.”
The new provisions mean that by early 2018, Ireland will have admitted its entire designated cohort from Greece, which is around 1,089 people.
As well as this, it will have taken in double the amount of refugees originally committed under the European Commission’s July 2015 resettlement scheme, which called for 520 people to be admitted.
The promise to take in the highest number of refugees to date is part of European Commission/UNHCR resettlement programme, which aims to provide 50,000 resettlement places across the European Union over the two year period.
To minimise the impact on an already strained housing supply, priority may be given to families who can meet the accommodation requirements of eligible family members.