Progress accepting unaccompanied minors from the now dismantled Calais camp as agreed to in a motion passed by Dáil Éireann
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the progress that has been made to date in 2017 in accepting unaccompanied minors from the now dismantled Calais camp as agreed to in a motion passed by Dáil Éireann; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
- Darragh O'Brien
As the Deputy will be aware, the Government committed to taking up to 200 unaccompanied minors (UAMs) from France who were previously resident in the migrant camp at Calais. On foot of the Government Decision, Tusla - The Child and Family Agency, which comes within the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, T.D., launched the Calais Special Project (CSP). This is being led operationally by their Separated Children Seeking Asylum team.
It is important to note that all of the unaccompanied minors that have been identified in cooperation with the French authorities as suitable for relocation to Ireland have been accepted into Ireland and provided with the appropriate supports. Under this initiative, I understand that 21 young persons have been relocated to this jurisdiction, of which 19 are currently in the care of Tusla and 2 have been reunited with family members living in Ireland. Decisions regarding numbers and dates for any future missions in respect of unaccompanied minors previously resident in the Calais camp are matters for Tusla to determine in cooperation with the French authorities and the best interests of the child is central to this partnership process with the French authorities. Tusla officials and members of An Garda Síochána carry out the interviews with the young persons to minimise the time required and to avoid any unnecessary duplication of effort. It should be noted that, from an immigration perspective, I have determined that programme refugee status will apply in these cases.