'Hope they find a new home in Ireland' - Taoiseach Leo Varadkar welcomes 129 refugees
TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has welcomed 129 Syrian refugees to Ireland as the latest group of refugees to be relocated here arrived.
The group were received yesterday by government ministers in Dublin.
The Taoiseach said after meeting the new arrivals that their experience "puts it all in perspective".
"Hope they find a new home in Ireland," he said.
As he greeted the group Mr Varadkar said:
"Welcome to Ireland I know it's been a long and difficult journey for you."
The group are the final cohort to arrive under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP).
Families arrive in Ireland from Allepo via Athens. Puts it all in perspective. Hope they find a new home in Ireland. https://t.co/fvXsF2D5jn— Leo Varadkar (@campaignforleo) March 24, 2018
The latest arrival via special chartered flight into Baldonnel Air Base brings the total number of asylum seekers to 1,022 in addition to 792 programme refugees who have already been granted refugee status.
The flight brought 73 adults and 56 children, 36 of whom are under the age of 12
In a statement, Minister Charlie Flanagan said, “we are voluntarily opted-in to the relocation mechanism as an act of solidarity with EU member states responding to the plight of an unprecedented number of asylum seekers fleeing conflict in the Middle East, and also because it is quite simply the right thing to do.”
“We are continuing work to complete our ambitious targets and have committed to further increase numbers by 2019. I am determined that the IRPP, working with its partners both at home and abroad, will actively respond to assist those in need of protection,” he added.
Representatives from the IRPP, the International Protection Office (IPO) and An Garda Síochána met with and interviewed all relocation applicants in Athens before being accepted for relocation to Ireland.
Under the EU’s relocation and resettlement programme, Ireland has pledged to take in 4,000 refugees. The relocation of refugees from Greece has concluded with the focus now going towards the humanitarian family reunification scheme.