First children from former Calais migrant camp to arrive in Ireland ‘within weeks’

Children's Minister Katherine Zappone was seeking Cabinet approval

First children from former Calais migrant camp to arrive in Ireland ‘within weeks’

Katherine Zappone. Image:

The Children's Minister Katherine Zappone says she expects the first children from the former migrant camp in Calais in France to arrive here within weeks.

The minister  seeking Cabinet approval to implement Dáil motion from last November to accept up to 200 unaccompanied minors.

The first group of 20 will be interviewed in France next week and are all boys aged 16 and 17.

Speaking on her way into the meeting, she confirmed many will be housed in foster homes.

“Most of those we have accomdation ready for them.

“Probably most of them will be in very small residiecial settings, as they are now.

“We have about 80 young people within our care settings, unaccompanied minors, many of whom are in residiecial settings.

Minister Zappone also said she expects them to arrive to Ireland in a number of weeks.

“When our officials go agaion next week, they will eb presented with about 20 young people – and assess them and identify which ones want to come, and that we feel that we can propwerly care for them.

“And then they will be on their way within the next number of weeks,” she added.

Officials from her department and TUSLA met with their French counterparts last week to organise how the children would be interviewed, validated and legally transferred to Ireland.

Minister Zappone was seeking Cabinet approval for establishing a national project office for responding to children who have become separated from loved ones as a result of war, terror or the immigration crisis.

Initially 40 children will come here, and they will be placed in foster or residential settings until they are 18.