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Kenny speaks on migrant crisis
03 Sep 2015 16:04
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said Ireland would be flexible on taking in more refugees from Italy and Greece if asked at a key meeting of EU justice ministers next Monday.
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However, speaking in Paris following a meeting with the French president Francois Hollande, Mr Kenny declined to give an exact number.
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Ireland has an "opt out" from a number of Justice and Home Affairs rules under EU law, but has agreed to "opt in" voluntarily on the relocation of migrants who have arrived in Italy and Greece.
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A proposal by the European Commission in May called for a binding quota system for the relocation of refugees, but it was rejected by EU leaders in June.
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Instead a voluntary quota system was put in place to relocate 40,000.
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So far, the uptake by member states has fallen short at 32,000.
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Following a meeting of justice ministers in July Ireland agreed to voluntarily accept 600 refugees.
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The Commission will relaunch a mandatory system next week and justice ministers will seek to agreement on it on 14 Monday.
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Mr Kenny suggested that under the new scheme the overall EU relocation figure would be "over 100,000."
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But he declined to say how many Ireland would commit to.
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"It's not realistic to set a figure on this, but there will be a real focus following the justice ministers' meeting, which will arise at the [heads of government] European Council in October.
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Past experience is that countries will not measure up if they're asked to do so voluntarily," the Taoiseach said.
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Mr Kenny described the picture of the young boy on the beach in Turkey as "absolutely shocking."
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