Fifty Syrian refugees arrive in Republic from Lebanese camp

Minister signals another mission to Lebanon next week to interview 300 Syrian nationals

Next group of candidates will be assessed as part of the State’s international commitment to accept 2,900 refugees from camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Greece by 2025. File photograph: Getty

Next group of candidates will be assessed as part of the State’s international commitment to accept 2,900 refugees from camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Greece by 2025. File photograph: Getty

 

Fifty Syrian refugees arrived in the Republic last night as gardaí and Department of Integration officials prepare another mission to Lebanon to interview 300 more under the State’s Refugee Programme.

Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman said the 50, comprising six families who arrived from a Lebanese refugee camp, will be housed in short-term emergency reception and orientations centres.

They will then be settled countrywide “primarily using the community sponsorship model where communities come together and obtain accommodation and provide a support network for a family of refuges and welcome them into their community”.

At the Green Party’s think-in in Airfield Estate, Dublin, Mr O’Gorman said another mission is going to Lebanon next week to interview about 300 primarily Syrian nationals to identify the next group of refugees set for the Republic.

They will be assessed as part of the State’s international commitment to accept 2,900 refugees from camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Greece by 2025.

Mr O’Gorman said they would interview 300 initially. “There will be security checks so representatives from my own department and also from the Garda [will be involved],” he said.

Refugee camp

The Minister said that over the past two months the State has also accepted 28 unaccompanied minors from the former refugee camp in Lesbos which was destroyed in a fire last year.

“At the time we only had the capacity to take four additional unaccompanied minors,” he said. But because of the additional €5 million the department received in the budget they have been able to take 28, which meets the State’s full commitment on minors.

The department, in conjunction with Tusla, has introduced Fáilte Care, a programme calling for foster carers to support unaccompanied minors so they can be raised in family homes in Ireland.

Mr O’Gorman said the Government has also issued almost 400 humanitarian visas to support refugees from Afghanistan. They had initially offered 100 visas but increased it to 400 for the most vulnerable including women who were active in society working for frontline human rights defenders and other EU governments, as well as members of LGBTI community.