Nearly 50 Syrian refugees arrive in Ireland from Greece

Some 859 people have arrived from Greece so far with 155 more due in coming weeks

Nearly 50 Syrian refugees have arrived in Ireland from Greece this week under the Government's relocation programme.

Twenty refugees arrived in Ireland on Wednesday followed by a further 29 people from Greek refugee camps on Thursday. These are the first Syrian refugees to arrive in Ireland so far this year.

Their arrival brings to 859 the total number of women, men and children who have arrived in Ireland from Greece under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme.

A spokesman for the Department of Justice said another 155 people were due to arrive in Ireland from Greece in the coming weeks.

The latest commitment comes as a new wave of bombs struck Syria’s eastern Ghouta district on Friday causing further devastation and civilian casualties in the area. An estimated 462 people have been killed this week, including nearly 100 children, during a week of bombing by government forces in eastern Ghouta.

The Irish Government last year failed to meet its original pledge of bringing 4,000 asylum seekers into the country by the end of 2017.

The Department of Justice has said it expects 1,014 people will have been relocated to Ireland from Greece by the end of March.

Meanwhile, 792 programme refugees have arrived in Ireland from Lebanon under the UNHCR-led resettlement strand of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme. The Government has pledged to accept 1,040 people for resettlement.

A total of 261 Syrians arrived in Ireland in 2017 according to data released following a parliamentary question from Fianna Fáil TD John Lahart this week. Minister of State David Stanton also confirmed that 335 Syrian refugees arrived in 2016, 149 arrived in 149 and 89 arrived in 2014.

Meanwhile, some 1,060 Syrians have applied for asylum in Ireland since 2011. The highest number of applicants was in 2017 when 545 requests for international protection were made. There were 244 asylum applications in 2016 from Syrian nationals, and 74 applications in 2015.