PQ: Refugee Resettlement Programme

Thu, February 9, 2017

58. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if all resettled refugees who have arrived here as part of the Irish refugee protection programme receive an orientation and language training programme as provided for on the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration website (details supplied).

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): The Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration of the Department of Justice and Equality coordinates the resettlement strand of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme.

The local Education and Training Board provides a language training and orientation programme for a period of 8 weeks for adult programme refugees admitted under the resettlement strand of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme and accommodated in one of the two Emergency Reception and Orientation Centres used by the programme i.e. the Hazel Hotel in Monasterevin and the Clonea Strand Hotel in Dungarvan. It is up to each adult to decide if they wish to attend this programme but attendance is strongly encouraged and participation levels are good. Persons over 16 years may also attend the adult programme but 16 – 17 year olds generally prefer to attend the local Community Schools with the other teenagers. Transport and childcare, where available, is provided to enable the adult residents in the Emergency Reception and Orientation Centres to attend the programme.

In exceptional circumstances where the arrival of refugees from the country of refuge is delayed, for example where an expectant mother cannot travel for the safety of her unborn child, that family may not receive the full orientation programme while resident in the centre. Such refugees prefer to move to the community when housing is available rather than remain in the reception centre for the purposes of continuing the initial orientation and training programme. The Education and Training Board will continue to provide a language training and orientation programme for up to one year post resettlement in the community. All topics covered in the initial orientation and language training programme are revisited during this period.

Transition arrangements are put in place in the Emergency Reception and Orientation Centres for children up to 12 years. Many children of this age have never attended mainstream education. The transition programme, which is run by qualified teachers, is designed to introduce children to normal school behaviours and practices and they also follow part of the mainstream curriculum and learn English. The objective is to prepare children for an easy transition to mainstream education when they move to the community.

Similar arrangements will be provided in the new Emergency Reception and Orientation Centres for asylum seekers admitted under the relocation programme from Italy and Greece.

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