Wednesday 21 February 2018

Cost of taking in migrant children to Ireland 'considerably less' than originally estimated

Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone. Photo: Tom Burke
Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone. Photo: Tom Burke
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

The cost of taking in unaccompanied migrant children to Ireland will be “considerably less” than was originally estimated – so “more money will be available for more children,” the Minister for Children Katherine Zappone has revealed.

The Irish authorities are working with Tusla, the child protection agency, with the goal of assessing 40 children  in Greek refugee camps before the beginning of the summer, ahead of their arrival in Ireland.

It had been thought that the cost of providing services and accommodation to the 40 minors would be about €11.3 million.

Speaking at the launch of a new report on the struggles faced by refugee women in Europe, Minister Zappone said with Ireland geared up to accept 80 migrants a month over the course of the next year, it is clear that families and communities want to play their part.

“Our support is not only welcome but is needed,” she said.

The report carried out in partnership with the Immigrant Council of Ireland entitled Hidden Struggles on the adversities faced by refugee women in Europe has found that one in five women have experienced physical violence during their journey to Europe, the majority committed by police or smugglers, while almost half of the women reported not feeing safe in the camps.

Four out of five women privately interviewed at the camps reported that they ‘constantly feel depressed’ or ‘feel depressed most of the time’.

Brian Killoran, CEO of the Immigrant Council of Ireland called on political leaders both here and in Ireland to deliver policy changes to improve the situation for women asylum seekers.

He also called for the relocation and resettlement in Ireland to be sensitive to the needs of women and girls in terms of healthcare, counselling services and help for those who have experienced violence.

Syrian journalist Razan Ibraheem told those attending the launch that while the drive to grant refuge to families and unaccompanied minors is welcome, the Irish authorities should also consider taking in single Syrian women, saying “they integrate well” into communities. 

Having volunteered at the Greek camps, she said she witnessed “the most appalling conditions” in which people were living.

Meanwhile she said she is in contact with a family of a mother, father and eight children who have recently settled in temporary accommodation Ireland in the past few months.

“They are so happy and so well taken care of. All eight children are in school and are  getting English classes and they have now the Irish accent after a few months,” she said.

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