Refugees Welcome!

5 July 2017

Ireland must meet commitment on Refugees

5 July 2017

Responding to the ongoing migration crisis in the Mediterranean, and the preparations by Austria to deploy troops on its border with Italy in the event of a migrant influx, Labour spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Senator Ivana Bacik has called on the Government to meet the commitments Ireland has previously made on resettling refugees, and in particular to deliver on our promise to relocate asylum seekers from Italy.

Senator Bacik said:

"The migration crisis in the Mediterranean has placed an enormous burden on countries like Italy and Greece. The news that Austria is prepared to station troops on its border with Italy in the event of an influx of migrants highlights the tensions that remain unresolved.

"Once again, the summer months have shown an increased movement of refugees and asylum seekers from war torn countries in the region, seeking a new life in Europe. Over 85,000 migrants have arrived in Italy already this year, a 20% increase on 2016.

"It is now nearly two years on from September 2015 when in response to the migration crisis, Ireland made the welcome commitment to take over 4,000 refugees.

"It was expected that 2,622 of those refugees would come through the EU relocation mechanism, in particular from Italy and Greece; with nearly 500 having arrived from Greece now.

"It was also elected that, of that total, 623 asylum seekers would come from Italy.

"Yet here we are half way through 2017 and still no asylum seekers have been relocated from Italy to Ireland.

"I am calling on the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the Minister for Justice, to provide an update on the relocation and resettlement programmed; and I have also called on the government to ensure that Ireland meets our commitments and that bureaucracy is not used as an excuse to delay further the relocation of refugees."