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Saturday 3 December 2016

Ireland to accept 80 refugees a month as country's 'model response' to crisis is praised

Desperate migrants are pulled from the sea off Libya
Desperate migrants are pulled from the sea off Libya

Ireland will accept up to 80 people a month from the Mediterranean who are fleeing violence in Iraq and Syria.

Refugee Applications Commissioner David Costello ack- nowledged that progress has been slow in getting people into Ireland from the camps set up in Italy and Greece following the migrant crisis.

The revelation came as 250 migrants died in shipwrecks off the Libyan coast yesterday.

Resettled

To date, 520 people have been resettled in Ireland from Greece and Italy, while nearly 240 more are expected to arrive next month.

"By next January or so we expect between 60 and 80 people a month from then on," said Mr Costello. "It has been very slow so far but we are making progress."

Ireland has agreed to relocate nearly 2,700 people from Greece and Italy, followed by 780 more.

Ireland's overall relocation and resettlement commitment - currently at around 4,000 - is expected to increase if the mig- ration crisis continues in the Mediterranean, with no sign of the Syrian civil war ending.

The revelation came as one of Europe's top refugee law experts, Prof Guy Goodwin-Gill of Oxford University, hailed Ireland as a model of how European countries should respond to the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean.

"It is remarkable what has been achieved. I think Ireland should be rightly proud of the 12,500 people who have been rescued by the Naval Service since 2015. "I think that is a model in many respects and it would be nice to see other countries doing as much."

Prof Goodwin-Gill, who was speaking at the 2016 UCC Law Conference, urged other EU countries to follow the Irish example.

"They are not doing enough. They are not working together, which is what they should have been doing," he said.

"Let's take a very simple example - The Jungle in Calais was not just a French and British problem.

Appalling

"It is a European problem. It should be addressed in European terms."

Prof Goodwin-Gill said Eur-ope's response to the appalling voyage that desperate refugees are making across the eastern Mediterranean and into the Balkans was another example.

"The conditions for survival at that time were absolutely terrible, but did anybody rush in to help? No they didn't," he said.

"Not everyone was in an EU state, but they are our neighbours and they should have received assistance from us."

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