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Dáil agrees Ireland will take 200 children from Calais camp

  • 11 Nov 2016

All-party motion expresses concern about 10,000 children missing in Europe

Michael O'Regan, Irish Times

10th November 2016

The Dáil has passed an all-party motion committing Ireland to taking 200 children from the former Calais migrant camp.

The motion was moved on Thursday by Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald and passed without a debate.

It noted the French government had dismantled the Calais refugee camps, moving 1,500 children to other areas in France.

It also noted “with concern’’ up to 10,000 children were missing and at risk across Europe, and that this required a special humanitarian response from EU states.

The motion pledged to work with the French authorities, in accordance with international law and in consultation with youth-care professionals formerly working in the camp, to identify those unaccompanied children who would want to come to Ireland.

The necessary resources and expertise would be made available to the child and family agency Tusla and to all relevant agencies and non-governmental organisations so the children could have a new start with families who had offered them a home or in other appropriate settings.

Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty announced an extension of the motion to identify up to 200 children.

When the Dáil debated the issue last week, Minister for Children Katherine Zappone announced she had asked Tusla to review Ireland’s capacity to provide “safety, protection and hope’’ to more children.

Several hundred people gathered outside the Dáil calling on Ireland to house 200 of the children.