Minister Flanagan agrees to invite up to 36 unaccompanied minors to Ireland from Greece
Agreement to offer international protection made at meeting with Greek Minister for Migration Policy, Dimitris Vitsas
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, today met with Greek Minister for Migration Policy, Dimitris Vitsas, in the margins of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting in Brussels. In conjunction with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, Minister Flanagan was conveying to Minister Vitsas that Ireland can offer solidarity to Greece by agreeing to accept up to 36 unaccompanied minors in need of International Protection in 2019.
Minister Flanagan said: “Greece is the EU State which has been most affected by the ongoing migration crisis: 850,000 people arrived in 2015. We have been working with Greece for some time as part of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme and following discussions with Minister Zappone, today I agreed that Ireland will welcome another 36 unaccompanied minors in 2019. I know that these young people will be welcomed into Ireland. Upon their transfer to Ireland, these unaccompanied minors will be taken into the care of our child protection authorities and will be provided with all of the necessary supports.
Today at my meeting with Minister Vitsas, I expressed our support for the Greek people who have made serious efforts to meet the needs of those who have arrived on Greek shores from a wide variety of countries seeking international protection, a significant number of unaccompanied minors among them.”
Further contact will now be initiated between Irish and Greek officials to establish the appropriate arrangements for the transfer of these unaccompanied minors to Ireland. These young people will be included as part of the Government’s commitments under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, which will grant them programme refugee status on arrival. Officials from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service and Tusla (The Child and Family Agency) will work with their Greek counterparts on these and other logistical matters.
Minister Flanagan added: “Ireland recognises the acute migration challenges experienced by Greece and we are pleased to have been able to respond positively to a request for assistance on this occasion, in the spirit of solidarity and mutual cooperation.”