Ten refugees out of promised 2,620 have arrived in Ireland

‘Absolutely no delay or hesitation on Irish side,’ Department of Justice sources say

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has expressed disappointment at the delay in the establishment of the hotspots in Greece and Italy.Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has expressed disappointment at the delay in the establishment of the hotspots in Greece and Italy.Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

 

Just 10 of the 2,620 Syrian people Ireland has pledged to accept under the EU relocation programme have arrived in the State, but authorities insist the delay is not on the Irish side. A further 251 Syrians have arrived from camps in Lebanon and Jordan under a separate but linked scheme, which will accept 520 people. Of the 251 refugees, 122 arrived in the past three months.

The State has committed to accepting up to 4,000 people under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, including the 2,620 asylum seekers from migration “hotspots” in Italy and Greece, in the wake of the unprecedented migration crisis in the Mediterranean.

‘No delay or hesitation’

“We are depending on conditions in other countries”, and on international bodies, the sources said.

In reply to Dáil parliamentary questions, Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has expressed disappointment at the delay in the establishment of the hotspots in Greece and Italy where migrants would be registered and fingerprinted in accordance with EU law.

Under the hotspot arrangement, people identified as likely to be genuine refugees could be relocated to another EU state. It is understood that many arriving in Greece have not registered at hotspots, preferring to continue through the Balkans to Germany.

Further persons sought

In a statement, it said “the small number of relocations effected to date reflects the fact that the EU relocation programme has been slow in gathering momentum due to the time taken to establish migration hotspots”.

Migrants are obliged to seek asylum first in order to be considered for the relocation programme. But the department said the latest reports “indicate that the hotspots in both countries are becoming more operational as additional resources are allocated”.

The Syrian refugees are being accommodated at two former hotels in Monasterevin, Co Kildare, and Clonea Strand, Co Waterford.