First of Syrian refugees arrive in Ireland

Seventeen people, including some seriously ill, among 90 the State will take in this year

The first of several hundred Syrian refugees that the State has agreed to take have arrived in Ireland.

The 17 refugees include a number of seriously ill individuals, including two young children.

The families involved had taken refuge in Lebanon where more than a million Syrians have fled the bloody civil war in the country which has been raging for the last three and a half years.

The two children commenced medical treatment directly after arriving in Ireland.


All the refugees have been taken to an orientation centre for a 10 to 12 week programme.

They will then eventually be resettled in a number of areas around Ireland.

The resettlement is part of a pledge by the State in June to take in refugees from Syria.

Some 90 refugees are scheduled to arrive in Ireland this year. Most of them will be here by the end of October. They have been refugees in Jordan.

A further hundred refugees will be admitted under the resettlement programme in 2015 and 120 in 2016.

Some three million people out of a population of 23 million have fled Syria as a result of the civil war which began in March 2011.

The UN refugee agency said the task of looking after such a huge number of refugees in the biggest in its 64 year history.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres criticised member states for not doing enough to alleviate the crisis.

High Commissioner for Refugees spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said there was a need for a European wide strategy for the thousands of refugees from the Middle East who are trying to reach Europe.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times