Fitzgerald confirms 111 Syrians allowed to live in Ireland

‘Vulnerable’ family members admitted under Syrian humanitarian programme

Francis Fitzgerald has said Ireland is committed to continuing with its resettlement programme, having pledged an additional 220 resettlement places for 2015/2016. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Francis Fitzgerald has said Ireland is committed to continuing with its resettlement programme, having pledged an additional 220 resettlement places for 2015/2016. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has confirmed 111 people from Syria and the surrounding region have been granted permission to reside in Ireland after relatives already living here applied to her Department.

Ms Fitzgerald described the people as “vulnerable” and said a total of 308 applications were received under the Syrian Humanitarian Admissions Programme (SHAP) which was introduced by her predecessor Alan Shatter last March.

The Government has already accepted 90 Syrian refugees this year under the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) resettlement programme.

“The individual family circumstances of each family were considered, in a humane and reasonable way, relying on UNHCR guidelines in granting the applications,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

“The programme is in addition to other avenues whereby Syrian nationals might lawfully enter the State, such as family reunification for the family members of refugees and persons with subsidiary protection, and UNHCR’s resettlement programme.”

Those admitted under the SHAP programme will be entitled to work and establish businesses. The final date for the submission of applications under the programme was April 30th.

It offered temporary Irish residence to vulnerable people in Syria, or those who had fled from Syria to surrounding countries since the outbreak of the civil war, who had close family members residing in the State.

It also allowed naturalised Irish citizens of Syrian birth and Syrian nationals already lawfully resident in the State to make an application for vulnerable close family members to join them in Ireland on a temporary basis for up to two years.

A quota of two family members per family member already in Ireland was established. However, applications for up to four vulnerable family members, prioritising two for admission in the first instance, could be submitted.

Ms Fitzgerald said Ireland was committed to continuing with its resettlement programme, having pledged an additional 220 resettlement places for the 2015/2016 period.

“The majority of these resettlement places will be available for the resettlement of refugees displaced by the Syrian conflict currently resident in Jordan and Lebanon, ” she added.

A conference on resettlement and other forms of admission for Syrian Refugees is being held by UNHCR in Geneva today.

The Department of Foreign Affairs’ humanitarian aid programme has allocated €28 million to providing support to those directly involved in humanitarian work in Syria and the wider region in recent years.