Ireland to take in over 300 additional refugees next year

Ireland will miss its refugee quota of 520 in 2017

Ireland to take in over 300 additional refugees next year

Image: UNHCR

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has welcomed an announcement that Ireland will accept an additional 330 refugees in 2018.

The news was confirmed by Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan.

Resettlement in Ireland has increased from 96 in 2014 to 356 in 2016.

In September 2015, the Irish Government decided to welcome up to 4,000 refugees and asylum-seekers under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme.

But only 1,272 of these have arrived here.

Nearly 270 refugees have arrived on resettlement in 2017 out of an expected 520.

The UNHCR says the remainder will now arrive in 2018, along with the additional 330.

Enda O'Neill of UNHCR Ireland said: "Ireland has again shown its commitment to supporting people forced to flee their homes because of war, conflict and persecution".

"While Ireland will not meet its full quota of 520 in 2017, the decision to take those who will not arrive this year with an additional 330 in 2018 will give hope to many people languishing in exile for years.

"At a time when large numbers of refugees cannot go home because of increasingly protracted conflict situations, resettlement offers an opportunity for the most vulnerable people and their families to rebuild their lives."

Global forced displacement is at a record 65.6 million.

The UNHCR estimates the number of people in need of resettlement globally in 2018 is 1.2 million.

However it says the number resettled last year was 125,600 - far short of what is needed.

In response, the New York Declaration of September 2016 committed countries - including Ireland - to resettling or finding alternative legal pathways for greater numbers of refugees.