Irish Refugee Council Legal Officer to visit Athens, Lesbos and Chios

Posted On: 10 August 2016

DSC_0014Maria Hennessy, Legal Officer at the Irish Refugee Council Independent Law Centre, is travelling to Greece today and will visit Athens as well as the Islands, Lesvos and Chios. One of the main aims of the trip is to gather more information about the current situation on the ground and to explore in partnership with local groups, organisations and agencies the possibility of safe and legal avenues for people, unaccompanied children, and families to access protection in Ireland through avenues such as the emergency relocation procedure, family reunification and using the Dublin III Regulation in a proactive manner to ensure family unity.

In tandem with this trip, the Irish Refugee Council launched a humanitarian drive called People to People: Ireland in Solidarity with Greece Appeal to deliver additional funds to assist local volunteer efforts and organisations who are distributing essential front line services and material needs to the people currently waiting in Athens and on the islands.

“It is important to raise awareness about the humanitarian situation and responses currently happening in Greece. Everyday solidarity groups, people and NGOs are meeting the basic needs of people, such as food, clothing, medical care and other essential supports. This appeal not only assists with vital practical support but it sends an important message of solidarity for those seeking protection in Europe and adds to the already generous support and solidarity expressed by the people of Ireland.”


Caroline Reid, Communications Officer,


This trip to Greece is the first of its kind for the Irish Refugee Council and its purpose is to ascertain the needs of refugees on the ground in Greece and identify where we can to be assistance in responding to this humanitarian crisis.

The Dublin procedure can be used in a manner to reunite family members in other European Member States and also to reunite families on dependency and humanitarian grounds.

Nearly 160,000 people have arrived by sea in Greece alone this year, 89 % of which are from the world’s top 10 refugee-producing countries and over half of those arriving by sea are women and children. There are estimated to be approximately 2,278 unaccompanied children in Greece. Upon arrival many are stranded in difficult humanitarian conditions in camps on the islands and mainland Greece.

Number of people resettled to Ireland as of 11th July 2016: 273

Number of people relocated to Ireland from Greece as of 11th July 2016: 38

Number of unaccompanied children relocated to Ireland as of 10th August 2016: 1

For up-to-date information on the progress of the resettlement and relocation schemes visit:

For up-to-date information on the situation in the Mediterranean visit