Representatives from Ireland’s Child and Family Agency, Túsla, are currently in Greece in efforts to help identify 20 refugee children in Greece who are eligible for resettlement in Ireland, Children’s Minister, Dr. Katherine Zappone stated.
The representatives will be in Greece on a three-day mission to seek out lone children who wish to resettle in Ireland as a part of the country’s promise to provide a home for refugee children, the Minister said.
“While my department and Túsla does respond to the needs of an average of 100-lone-children who arrive in Ireland each year,” the minister said, “I am deeply concerned about the plight of those left languishing in camps both in the hotspots of the Mediterranean and as we recently saw in Calais.”
The latest numbers by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reflect the astonishing reality that 20 spots in a home for children is a far cry from solving the issue of unaccompanied children who are refugees throughout Europe.
In Greece alone there are some 1,604 unaccompanied minors waiting for appropriate shelter while UNHCR reports that last year alone 90,000 unaccompanied children arrived in Europe seeking asylum.
Minister Zappone realizes the depth of the task at hand, adding, that resettling 20 unaccompanied refugee children is just the start and says that Ireland “can do more.”
“I have asked Túsla to review capacity to speed up the pace and increase the numbers coming to our communities,” she said.