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Monday 16 September 2019

Tánaiste pledges to take 1,100 refugees from Greece

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald hands Greek Prime Minister Alexis
Tsipras an Irish Tricolour. Photo: Andrea Bonetti
Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald hands Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras an Irish Tricolour. Photo: Andrea Bonetti
Claire Murphy

Claire Murphy

The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has said that Ireland will take at least 1,100 asylum seekers by next September.

Ms Fitzgerald informed Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that Ireland would meet its migration commitment to Greece in full - including 131 by Christmas.

Ms Fitzgerald met with Mr Tsipras as part of her three-day official visit with Children's Minister Katherine Zappone.

"I am here in Athens to speak to migrants, Greek authorities and ministers and NGOs who are all working on the front lines of this crisis," Ms Fitzgerald said.

"The prime minister and I discussed the ongoing crisis and I reaffirmed our commitment to offer all assistance possible to the migrants and the Greek people. I informed the prime minister that we would welcome at least 1,100 asylum seekers from Greece by next September.

"I have also asked my officials to examine the possibility of increasing these numbers further in light of the difficulties in vetting asylum seekers in Italy which is hampering our efforts to accept migrants from there."

Ms Fitzgerald met with families who wish to come to Ireland to start a new life.

"I saw the determination of great people who need a second chance," she said.

Separately, a new ESRI report has found that the number of refugees resettled in Ireland doubled between 2015 and 2016. However, it said that the overall number remained low, both in the context of the crisis and compared to some other countries in Europe.

As of November, Ireland had resettled 98pc of the total 520 pledged. The majority of these were of Syrian origin.

Irish Independent

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