State yet to receive any of agreed 700 migrants from Italy
More than 450 relocated from Greece but Italian delays blamed on security screening
Migrants wait to disembark in Catania on the island of Sicily, Italy. Photograph: Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters
Ireland has received no migrants from Italy to date, nearly two years after pledging to accept nearly 700 who arrived there from Africa and the Middle East.
In September 2015, the State agreed to take 2,600 migrants from camps in Greece and Italy. According to figures released on Tuesday, 459 people have been relocated from Greece to date but none from Italy.
A statement from the Department of Justice blamed the delay on problems on the Italian side relating to the security screenings of migrants.
The department said a monthly schedule was in place for taking asylum seekers from Greece which would allow the State to meet its commitment to take 1,100 by September 2017.
The initiative was designed to ease pressure on Greece and Italy by dispersing new arrivals, the majority from Syria, across European states.
In November last year, the State also agreed to take 200 unaccompanied child migrants who had previously settled in the “Jungle” refugee camp in Calais, France. So far 21 of these children have arrived in the Republic and are in the care of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.
In a separate resettlement programme, the State has taken in 779 mostly Syrian migrants from several Middle Eastern countries. This is part of a commitment to accept 1,040 people from the region.