Over 200 Afghan refugees to arrive in Ireland 'in the coming days'

Equality Minister Roderic O'Gorman says more than 200 Afghans granted refugee status will be arri...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.37 23 Aug 2021

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Over 200 Afghan refugees to ar...

Over 200 Afghan refugees to arrive in Ireland 'in the coming days'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.37 23 Aug 2021

Share this article

Equality Minister Roderic O'Gorman says more than 200 Afghans granted refugee status will be arriving here in the coming days.

He was speaking as two more Irish citizens have been evacuated from Afghanistan - bringing the total to 10.

The number of Irish citizens and family members seeking to leave the country is 36.


While Irish special forces are being deployed to Afghanistan to assist evacuation efforts.

Nine Army Rangers and two Department of Foreign Affairs officials will travel to Kabul via Paris over the coming days to help evacuate the remaining Irish citizens.

In an earlier statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said: "The situation remains volatile and access to the airport continues to be a problem.

"Work continues on options for evacuation, the Department is in ongoing contact with EU and other partners on the ground in Kabul.

"There are also a small number of Irish citizens who are working for UN and international organisations and currently plan to stay in Afghanistan."

Minister O'Gorman told Newstalk the majority of those arriving here are working on human rights or are vulnerable persons.

"As an immediate response to the emergency situation in Afghanistan, Programme Refugee status has been granted now to just over 200 Afghans.

"There'll come to Ireland as part of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme - this group of people are primarily those who have been working on human right issues, including the rights of women and girls, they're vulnerable persons and also those working with NGOs and European and international organisations.

"So we hope to see the first number of this group arrive in Ireland in the next few days."

He says their first stop will be COVID-19 quarantine, but they have a long journey ahead of them.

"Obviously the situation in Kabul itself is fluid, and obviously all these individuals will have to transfer subsequently before they arrive in Ireland.

"So we're looking at a range of the next number of days".

'Family reunification' route

And he says we may take more refugees, as the Department of Justice is examining over 100 family reunification applications.

"We're continuing to look at capacity across the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, to see if we can make additional spaces.

"I think it's really important that we have to have the spaces and we have to have the supports available for any person that we bring into this country.

"There's no point in bringing people over if we can't satisfactorily accommodate them.

"But we are continuing to look at spaces in terms of the Refugee Protection Programme.

"But there's also other routes in which we may be able to bring more people into the country - I know the Department of Justice are currently looking at the family reunification process.

"That's a means whereby people could join family members who are already residents here in Ireland."

A number of those granted visas will be coming from a third country - such as Pakistan - as they have already left Afghanistan.

On getting more Irish citizens out of the country, Minister O'Gorman says they remain in close contact with EU and international partners.

"We're working very hard, and I know other Government departments are working very hard as well, to secure the exit of Irish citizens - and then Afghan citizens who've received these humanitarian visas - out of Kabul.

"We're working very closely with international, and particularly EU member states, who might have a larger presence there - who would have either military flights or indeed chartered flights coming out of the country.

"And we're working to secure seats for those that we're seeking to extract from Afghanistan".

Main image: Afghan families are seen at a military base in Madrid, Spain from a flight that left Kabul and made a stopover in Dubai. Picture by: SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA Images

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Afghan Refugees Afghanistan Department Of Foreign Affairs Family Reunification Ireland Irish Refugee Protection Programme Refugee Status Roderic O'Gorman

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