PQ: Refugee Resettlement Programme

Tue, February 7, 2017

107. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the average length of time spent in direct provision centres by refugees relocated from Greece as part of the refugee relocation programme since that programme was launched in September 2015.

108. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if any refugee arriving here as part of the refugee resettlement programme is accommodated in emergency reception and orientation centres other than the ones in Monasterevin and Clonea Strand; and if any refugee that has arrived here as part of this programme is currently being accommodated in Mosney. [5972/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton I propose to take Questions Nos. 107 and 108 together.

As the Deputy is aware, the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) was approved by Government Decision on 10 September 2015 in response to the migration crisis which has developed in Southern Europe, and as an act of solidarity with other Member States.

Among the measures agreed under the Programme was the establishment of a Network of Emergency Reception and Orientation Centres (EROCs) which would be used to provide initial accommodation in order to meet the needs of asylum seekers relocated from Greece and Italy and Syrian programme refugees from Lebanon. As the name suggests, an EROC is largely about reception and orientation for those who are to be subsequently resettled. The accommodation of persons in EROCs for a period of time is considered to be good practice as it allows for a period of acclimatisation, de-stressing and on-site processing. It is also a process that is supported by the UNHCR as best practice.

Under the provisions of the EU relocation programme for asylum seekers, persons considered for relocation must be from countries with a EU-wide recognition rate for international protection of at least 75%. Accordingly, given their country of origin the expectation is that a large proportion of relocated persons will qualify for status within a very short time. The International Protection Office generally provide a decision on status within an 8-12 week time frame for this cohort. Programme refugees from Lebanon already have refugee status upon their arrival in Ireland. Typically the length of stay in an EROC is only as long as is necessary to provide for reception and orientation needs prior to resettlement elsewhere in Ireland and this period is anywhere from four to six months.

Programme refugees are accommodated in two EROCs located in Clonea Strand, Co Waterford, and Monasterevin, Co. Kildare. Persons who arrived from Greece in 2016 under the relocation strand of the IRPP are being temporarily accommodated in Mosney Accommodation Centre, a portion of which has been temporarily designated as an EROC as it provides self-contained accommodation for the incoming cohort. There are currently 228 persons residing in Mosney, 131 of whom only arrived in Ireland in mid-December 2016. The overwhelming majority are Syrian. The average length of time spent in EROCs to-date is therefore quite short. The resettlement of the relocation cohort in Mosney will commence over the coming weeks. A further EROC for relocation asylum seekers will open in Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon within a number of weeks and more EROCs will be needed in the coming months to cater for the expected increase in the numbers of relocated asylum seekers arriving in Ireland under the IRPP.