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Sherlock briefs Cabinet on meeting with NGOs about their work assisting migrants



Minister Flanagan and Minister of State Sherlock met a number of Irish overseas NGOs yesterday to discuss Irish Aid funding of their projects in countries most affected by the current migration crisis and the conflicts and violence causing many people to flee. The Tánaiste, Joan Burton, also attended the meeting.

Minister Flanagan stated:

"The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has a very good working relationship with the NGO community and we are always interested in hearing their views and experiences on the ground to help shape our policy and funding decisions."

Minister of State Sherlock stated:

"The Irish Government provides over €80 million per year to humanitarian relief efforts around the world. In terms of the Irish Government’s response to the humanitarian situation in Syria and in the Horn of Africa, the Irish people have provided over €100 million since 2012.

"It is vital that we highlight that Ireland has been collectively responding to the crisis for some time. We continue to contribute to ongoing efforts towards peace and stability by providing this humanitarian assistance and maintaining an impetus on political engagement at European and International level.

"Our Rapid Response Corp is deployed in a number of locations throughout the Middle East and the Horn of Africa.

"So far this year, I have approved over €9 million in humanitarian aid for Syria alone. This includes a €3 million allocation since July.

"We are currently examining how best to provide further support to the Syria this year. This will most likely be deployed through our UN partners. We fully expect to meet our pledge of €12 million for the Syria Crisis in 2015.

"We are also providing support through our Rapid Response initiative and providing emergency stocks and relief supplies such as blankets tents and tarpaulins into Syria Jordan Turkey and Iraq. Over 200 tonnes of humanitarian supplies have been dropped to these regions. Since 2012, Irish Aid has deployed 27 members of our Rapid Response Corp to countries neighbouring Syria.

"Irish Aid has always responded to the needs of our NGOs working on the ground. It is based on a partnership model that ensures a flexible and immediate response."

Minister Flanagan and Minister Sherlock also attended the Special Cabinet meeting this morning to discuss the refugee crisis.

Press Office, 10 September 2015

Note for Editors
Minister Flanagan and Minister of State Sherlock, accompanied by An Tánaiste, met the CEOs of:
Christian Aid Ireland
Concern Worldwide
MSF Ireland
Tear fund Ireland
World Vision
Head of Programmes Plan Ireland

In line with Ireland’s Humanitarian Assistance Policy, Irish Aid provides humanitarian funding for predictable and recurring crises and in response to sudden onset, protracted and forgotten humanitarian crises as well as conflict-related complex emergencies based on the core humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. All of our funding is on the basis of need and we are guided by the UN classification as to the severity of the humanitarian crises.

Approximately €80 m has been allocated in humanitarian funding annually over the last four years. This funding is channelled through a range of flexible, innovative funding mechanisms. Irish Aid partners with a range of organisations, including the Irish humanitarian NGOs, the Red Cross family and a number of UN partners. Just to the Syrian crisis and to countries in the Horn of Africa (including Sudan and South Sudan) alone, Ireland has provided over €100m in funding since 2012. In terms of responding to the Syria crisis, Ireland will have provided at least €41 million in humanitarian assistance by the end of 2015. This funding is in fulfilment of our pledge at the Kuwait III Pledging Conference on Syria in March of this year. This funding is channelled through the UN and the Red Cross, as well as through our trusted NGO partners, and will reach those who remain inside Syria, as well as refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries.

So far this year, €9 m has been approved in humanitarian aid for Syria, to support the work being done by UN agencies such as the World Food Programme, UNHCR and UNICEF, as well as to the Red Cross, and our trusted NGO partners who are getting relief to those who need it most. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is currently examining how best to provide further support to the Syria response this year, via UN and other partners.

In addition, Ireland has provided over €61 million in humanitarian assistance to help vulnerable people affected by war and conflict in the Horn of Africa since 2012, including support to refugees inside Ethiopia, the worsening humanitarian situation inside South Sudan, as well as funding to Somalia and Sudan. Taking Somalia alone and looking at it in a slightly longer timeframe, €36million has been provided to the crisis there since 2008.

There are many other countries where Ireland also provides humanitarian assistance including to the Sahel, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

All of these humanitarian crises are complex which have resulted in significant internal displacement resulting from conflict and ongoing insecurity. Issues of protection and food insecurity are areas where Ireland has focused and will continue to focus. Across many areas, the crises have become regional crises, with political, security, development and humanitarian consequences in their region.