The Irish Refugee Council welcomes Ireland’s commitment to opt-in to EU relocation scheme

Posted On: 22 July 2015

imagesMedia Statement, 22 July 2015

The Irish Refugee Council (IRC) welcomes the commitment and leadership demonstrated by Minister Fitzgerald to take in 600 people from Italy and Greece under the European relocation scheme.

“This shows solidarity, not only solidarity with our European neighbours who are under particular pressure, but solidarity with individuals fleeing conflict and war and in need of protection in Europe.”

“We also welcome Ireland’s involvement in search and rescue. Deploying two vessels to the Mediterranean is a real way of showing partnership and support with other European countries as well as saving lives.”

However there is a need for a common European approach to find resolutions for people in need of international protection. 600 people are arriving in Greece every day; Ireland has agreed to accept 600 people over a two year period. As positive a step as this is, we need to keep the wider context in mind, there are vast numbers of people who have been displaced and are continuing to be displaced on a daily basis, and Europe must do what it can to ensure that their safety and rights are protected.



By 10 June for the year 2015, 1,865 had lost their lives crossing the Mediterranean (IOM source)

Le Eithne saved over 3,400 people’s lives during its deployment in the Mediterranean

Arrivals of asylum seekers and migrants by sea from January 2015 to June 2015 according to UNHCR:

Italy: 62,000;

Greece: 63,000;

Hungary/Serbia border: 10,000.

Global context (UNHCR data):

Every 1 in 122 people are displaced and global forced displacement is now exceeding 50 million;

There are now 4 million refugees from Syria in neighbouring countries since early July – this is the largest refugee crisis since World War II;

Syrian conflict now in its 5th year;

Turkey alone has taken on 1.8 million people;

Europe has received approximately 270,000 asylum applications from Syria.