Bacik welcomes announcement on refugee resettlement programme, criticises delays

7 July 2016

Senator Ivana Bacik today welcomed confirmation from the Tánaiste that Ireland will admit an additional 260 Syrian refugees for resettlement here by autumn 2016, but criticised the delay in admission of refugees from Syria under the government’s resettlement programme to date.

Senator Bacik said: “In 2015, over 1.3 million people applied for asylum within the EU, of whom 30% were children – including 90,000 unaccompanied minors. Nearly two-thirds of asylum applications to the EU are from just three countries, all of which have seen massive conflict in recent years: Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. People are willing to take desperate risks to escape those conflicts. Since January alone, 2,856 have died making the dangerous journey to Europe across the Mediterranean.

“Ireland has been chosen to co-facilitate the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants in New York on 19 September 2016 and therefore has a special responsibility to provide strong leadership and an effective response to this humanitarian challenge. Ireland is uniquely placed to demonstrate leadership at a crucial time in the EU and indeed in the world.

“I welcomed the Irish government’s commitment in September 2015 to admit 4,000 people fleeing the conflict in Syria under our refugee protection programme, but I am very concerned that so few have been admitted to date; only 273 refugees displaced by that appalling conflict have arrived in Ireland so far. The slow progress with implementing the government’s commitment, and delays in the arrival of refugees to Ireland, is a matter of serious concern to all of us who wish to send out the vital message that refugees are welcome here.”