Ireland pledges to treble its refugee intake to 1,800 people over the next two years
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Ireland pledges to treble its refugee intake to 1,800 people over the next two years

IRELAND will treble its intake and accept at least 1,800 refugees amidst calls for the country to step up its response to the escalating migrant crisis.

As tens of thousands of people flee war-torn countries and head to Europe, the Irish Government has been under pressure to increase its commitment to taking just 600 refugees over the next two years.

Irish Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald made the new pledge today.

"What we have seen demands the most comprehensive response,” she said. "We want to respond in as humanitarian a way as possible. I believe that is a minimum of the response that we will be making."

Ms Fitzgerald told RTÉ Radio that if European leaders agree to increase the number of refugees being accepted into the continent to 150,000, Ireland would be required to change its allocation.

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny backed Ms Fitzgerald’s sentiments, stating that Ireland could accept more than 1,800 refugees.

"Ireland can cope with more than already taken," he said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron also today said that the country will accept thousands more Syrian refugees.

Mr Cameron said Britain had a "moral responsibility" to help those affected by the conflict in Syria.

The Irish Government’s pledge comes as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said that Europe must relocate 200,000 refugees.

Countries such as Germany and Austria have already agreed to accept 800,000 and 80,000 migrants, respectively, by the end of the year.