Ireland is being urged to resolve security issues with Italy to allow for the arrival of more migrants. The Department of Justice has previously said that due to issues with the Italian authorities surrounding the security assessment of migrants, relocations from Italy have yet to commence for many countries, including Ireland.
But today the European Commission called on the Government to find ways to overcome these hurdles.
Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said "I call on Ireland and Estonia to find mutually acceptable working arrangements with Italy on security interviews in the way that for example The Netherlands, France and Greece have worked out successfully."
Commissioner Avramopoulos also urged Italy to speed up its identification and registration procedures for migrants. The latest figures from the Department of Justice show that 21 unaccompanied minors, previously resident in the French migrant camp in Calais, have arrived in Ireland and are in the care of the child and family agency Tusla. The Government has committed to taking up to 200 unaccompanied minors who were previously resident in Calais.
The European Parliament has discussed accelerating the transfer of refugees from Italy and Greece, as agreed almost two years ago.
Two European Council decisions adopted in September 2015 resulted in member states committing to relocate 160,000 asylum-seekers from Italy and Greece by September 2017, but as of last Thursday only 18,418 had been moved. Under the programme, the Government pledged to accept 4,000 people.
That included 1,040 under the UNHCR-led refugee resettlement programme, which focused on resettling Syrian refugees from Lebanon, and 2,622 through the EU relocation mechanism established by two EU Council Decisions in 2015 to assist Italy and Greece.
Latest figures from the Department of Justice show that to date, 779 programme refugees have arrived under the resettlement aspect of the programme and 459 people from Greece under relocation.