Eight children from Greek refugee camp resettled in Ireland

The children were due to be resettled in March, but it was postponed due to Covid-19

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone said she was ‘very relieved that the young people tested negative for Covid-19 and were able to travel’.  File photograph: Damien Eagers/The Irish Times

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone said she was ‘very relieved that the young people tested negative for Covid-19 and were able to travel’. File photograph: Damien Eagers/The Irish Times

 

Eight children from a refugee camp in Greece arrived in Dublin on Wednesday as part of a resettlement programme, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs has announced.

The children, who have been separated from their families, were brought to the country under the International Refugee Protection Programme, which is managed by the Department of Justice and Equality.

They will now go into the care of Tusla, the child and family agency.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, welcomed the young people’s arrival, following delays relating to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am delighted that at last we can welcome these children, whose arrival here was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Minister Zappone said. “I am very relieved that the young people tested negative for Covid-19 and were able to travel today.”

Preparation for the transfer of the young people began in September 2019, when Tusla led a mission to Athens and the eight children were assessed, screened and approved for resettlement.

Arrangements for the children were being processed and their arrival had been expected in late March.

However, all refugee transport and resettlement programmes were temporarily suspended in mid-March because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the transfer could not be completed.

Minister Zappone commended Tusla for the detailed planning to ensure the safe transfer of the young people:

“I know Tusla has developed a detailed and comprehensive plan to care for these young people in their new home, where they will quarantine. They will be received into Tusla care and will have a chance to adjust to the very different circumstances in which they will now be living,” Minister Zappone added.

“I want to thank Tusla for the additional efforts made to ensure all public health advice is adhered to and that the young people, and those caring for them, are protected as they settle into their new home.”