Sun, 16 May 2021

Pandemic, EU rules prevent refugee children coming to Ireland

Robert Besser
11 Apr 2021, 05:40 GMT+10

DUBLIN, Ireland: A six month delay will drag on even further, as the resettling of 28 Syrian child refugees remains stalled.

Following a fire in September in a Greek migrant camp housing the children, Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman pledged that 28 unaccompanied children would be relocated to Ireland.

While fourteen of the 28 children had been listed for relocation last year, the European Union changed their rules for determining who is considered an unaccompanied minor to be accepted by member states.

Following this bureaucratic delay, the pandemic shut down international travel, keeping the children in Greece.

The Department of Children has since said, "These changes have been successfully implemented at the EU level and Ireland has received a list of unaccompanied minors who could potentially come here, following appropriate security checking and preparation".

In November 2020 Ireland did resettle165 Syrian refugees from camps around Beirut in Lebanon.

New plans were announced by O'Gorman, in which social workers would travel to Greece and begin the process of bringing 14 unaccompanied minors to Ireland.

"Level 5 has meant that there have been major restrictions on our ability to engage, in terms of unaccompanied minors or the wider Irish refugee protection programme", he noted.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Whitmore, the Social Democrats spokeswoman on children, said, "We've been told time and time again that those children are going to be brought overThe circumstances aren't good over there and they need to be brought here for safety. It is very disappointing to hear just a week after the Minister said it was happening that there seems to be a delay on it again".

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