herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Government will insist on strict vetting rules for all new refugees

Enda Kenny
Enda Kenny
Refugees on the move

The Government will insist on strict vetting of refugees seeking to be relocated as part of the European Union’s response to the migrant crisis, the Herald has learned.

It is also understood a Government taskforce will be established to coordinate the cross-departmental work involved in housing refugees in the coming months.

The group will be responsible for overseeing the Coalition’s refugee implementation plan which is still being drafted.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will convene a special Cabinet meeting tomorrow to discuss Ireland’s response to the worst humanitarian disaster to hit Europe in decades.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Kenny said he would not “quibble” over the number of refugees this country will accept and insisted: “Ireland will do what it can.”

Today, the European Commission President Jean Claude Junker is expected to unveil his expectations of member states, which will give the basis for how many refugees Ireland will be expect to accommodate.

A memo is also being drafted by the Department of Justice ahead of a crunch meeting of justice ministers in Brussels next week.

At the meeting, it is understood the Government will insist that thorough background checks are carried out on all migrants seeking accommodation in Ireland.

This is the first time the EU will ask member states to take in refugees from countries where vetting has not already taken place.

There is concern up to 15pc of those seeking to live in Ireland may not be genuine refugees.

“In the normal course of events you would be doing security checks, finger printing and so on. You don’t give up all that,” a Government source said.

However, the Coalition is anxious to fast track as many applications as possible so as to alleviate any unnecessary hardships for those escaping wars.

Yesterday, the Taoiseach dismissed claims that the Coalition is split over how to address the crisis.

Mr Kenny said the photograph depicting the tragic death of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, whose body was washed up on a beach in Turkey, shocked politicians into action.

“We don’t want to get bogged down in statistics – this is about humanity,” he said.

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