Differences between Irish and Italian authorities over the handling of asylum seekers’ applications for relocation have resulted in no migrants moving from Italy to Ireland under an EU scheme agreed last year.
The Department of Justice said “technical issues” meant no asylum seekers had been relocated from Italy since the scheme was agreed in September 2015. It is understood Irish authorities want a greater role in the assessment of asylum seekers on the ground in Italy before they are cleared for travel to Ireland.
The Government agreed to accept 2,600 asylum seekers under the initiative, which was designed to ease pressure on Greece and Italy by dispersing new arrivals across European states.
To date, a total of 69 people, all of them Syrian, have come to Ireland from Greece, but figures from the European Commission show no migrants have come to Ireland from Italy.
A further 15 out of 32 participating states have also received no migrants from Italy under the programme.
The scheme, which was to provide for the relocation of 160,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy, has been beset by delays and low take-up rates. As of last week, just 4,947 people had been transferred to other European states, with France having accommodated the largest number (1,656) and a number of states, including Austria, Hungary and Poland, having received none.
In July, the European commissioner for migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, sent a letter to EU ministers for justice imploring them to relocate more people.