The wheels had barely begun lifting off the tarmac at Kabul airport when the nation’s robust open borders lobby began calling for the acceptance of refugees to the Irish Republic. With commitment to cater for 150 additional humanitarian visas as well as scripted calls for upping that to 1,000 from the usual suspects in the NGO peanut gallery, various state departments are currently scampering to prepare for the new arrivals.
We’ve previously delved into the process before under Freedom of Information, examining semi-covert flights to bring in Syrian refugees and the resulting scramble for housing. However, some of the key things to note about the impending wave are as follows.
- Over the next month or so, 300 Afghan citizens will be flown in, presumably through Dublin airport, potentially using chartered flights as was the case with the bout of Syrians that arrived last year.
- The first port of call for new arrivals will likely be Emergency Reception and Orientation Centres (EROCs), potentially at Abbeyfield Hotel Ballaghaderreen, Mosney, Hazel Hotel in Monasterevin, and Clonea Strand in Dungarvan.
- Of this initial wave, 103 are those selected for family reunification who have been fast tracked amid the anarchy, with the remainder being those recently issued humanitarian visas.
- The majority of the legwork will be done by the UNHCR, of which the Irish government has given €1 million to its efforts providing for Afghan refugees in neighbouring Uzbekistan, Iran, Pakistan and Tajikistan. Previous refugee dumps have involved UNHCR activists shepherding new arrivals off planes and onto waiting private bus services to EROC centres.
- On the matter of accommodation, refugees will be housed temporarily at EROC centres before being provided for with resettlement schemes as well as the Community Sponsorship Ireland scheme, which would see local communities volunteer.
- Speaking on RTÉ on Tuesday, Minister for Children and Equality Roderic O’Gorman stated that those soon to arrive have already been selected using criteria favouring human rights activists.
- Efforts are being coordinated from the Irish Embassy at Abu Dhabi liaising with EU member states and NATO countries with capabilities to carry out evacuations.
- As it is presumed the nature of their refugee application is genuine, those arriving will not be sent to Direct Provision and enjoy full entitlements and ability to work.
- Family reunification is an added variable which could see numbers quickly balloon. In 2020 there was some legal contention over the matter of polygamous marriage and Afghan refugees.
While Afghans have always been present in the Irish Asylum industry, their numbers have been traditionally fairly low on asylum tables relative to Albanians, Syrians and Nigerians. The deposing of the Afghan regime however potentially heralds a new era. With experts predicting a refugee surge out of the country come Spring, Ireland and its ideologically monopolised refugee system, and dearth of electoral populism, remains a potential weak spot for offloading refugees.
While refugees undergo Garda screening, the fact that the state has previously accepted Taliban commanders in years gone by (even paying their legal bills), all points to a potential laxity in the process.
It’s a tired point, but ultimately, none of this is our fault nor responsibility. Manpower spent flying human rights workers out of Kabul and onto rural Irish hotels is hardly an optimal way to spend state resources, but so is the case of our benighted NGO Republic.