Fianna Fáil’s Immigration and Integration Spokesperson , Fiona O’Loughlin TD has criticised Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald for failing to ensure that Ireland meets its commitments to resettle refugees fleeing persecution, violence and terror.

“I heard what the Minister was reported to have said, by the media, at the UN summit of refugees and migrants, and while I am sure she does genuinely regret not meeting the targets to date, regret means nothing when hundreds of thousands of people are putting their lives on the line to seek a safer future for them and their families,” said O’Loughlin.

“Ireland committed to accept 4000 refugees, mainly feeling the multiple crises in the Middle East, but to date, it’s expected that only 870 will have arrived in Ireland by the end of the current year.”

“This just isn’t good enough. She must immediately direct her officials to identify the bottlenecks in the system that are causing so few to arrive into Ireland, and put the right resources in place to break through the delays.”

“Ireland has a proud history of humanitarian action. Our international NGOs and their aid workers and volunteers are on the ground making a difference, but the real challenge will be ensuring that those fleeing persecution and violence have new homes to go to,” added O’Loughlin.

“A major concern I have for the 870 refugees who will arrive here by year end will be long administrative delay they will be forced to wait through to get their asylum applications approved. Thankfully, the average wait has dropped from five to three years, but is three years really good enough for people who have already gone through years of persecution?,” asked the Fianna Fáil TD.

“Our systems, whether at home or abroad, need to live up to our obligations as a caring and compassionate country. Minister Fitzgerald needs to let us all know that anything that can be done is being done to speed up the process is being done. Otherwise, thousands of people are stuck in limbo with no futures,” concluded O’Loughlin.