EMN Ireland Conference: Responding to the Refugee Crisis

December 15, 2016 9:00AM - 04:30PM




Date: Thursday, 15 December 2016
Venue: Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, No. 6 Kildare Street, Dublin 2
Time: 09:00 – 16:00

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that globally 65.3 million people were forcibly displaced in 2015, including 21.3 million refugees. UNHCR has estimated almost 1 million refugees were in need of resettlement in 2015 and that this figure grew substantially in 2016.

This full day conference will bring together a range of speakers who will address current responses to the ongoing refugee crisis, providing an opportunity to highlight good practices, as well as to exchange information on challenges. Topics include EU and international policy, as well as State and local-level experiences of resettlement and private sponsorship, including in Sweden, Germany and Portugal. The Irish strategic response will be presented and discussed. An update will be provided on the practical implementation of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, set up in 2015 to coordinate the resettlement, relocation and integration of 4,000 refugees and asylum applicants.

Conference Agenda 

09:00 Arrival and registration
09:30 Welcome: Professor Alan Barrett, Economic and Social Research Institute
09:35 Opening address: David Stanton, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality

Please click here to read a transcript of the Minister’s address.

09:50 Session 1: Content and Policy Framework

Chair: Brian Merriman, Asylum Policy Division, Department of Justice and Equality

Bullets, brutality and barbed wire: Reality for people forced to flee

Jim Clarken, Oxfam Ireland

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Better protecting refugees in the EU and globally: UNHCR’s proposals to rebuild trust through better management, partnership and solidarity

Susan McMonagle, UNHCR Ireland

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Responding to the EU refugee ‘crisis’: Reform of the Common European Asylum System and enhanced external engagement

Stephen Ryan, Asylum Unit, DG Migration and Home Affairs, European Commission

10:50 Questions and answers
11:10 Coffee break
11:30 Session 2: State and Local Level Responses in EU Member States

Chair: John Roycroft, Irish Refugee Protection Programme, Department of Justice and Equality

Resettlement, humanitarian admission programmes and private sponsorship in Germany

Janne Grote, Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, Germany

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 Resettlement in Sweden, central and local perspectivesMartin Söderström and Mattias Sjölund, Åre Municipality and Marie Bengtsson, Swedish Migration Board, Sweden

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The mobilisation of civil society, municipalities and the state towards the reception and integration of resettled refugees and relocated asylum seekers: The Portuguese response

Maria de Fátima Grilo, Asylum and Refugees Department, SEF, Portugal

12:35 Questions and answers
12:55 Lunch
14:10 Session 3: Ireland’s Response to the Refugee Crisis

Chair: Enda O’Neill, UNHCR Ireland

The operational response to the refugee crisis: The role of the European Asylum Support Office and the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner

David Costello, Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and EASO Management Board

The Irish Refugee Protection Programme and the challenges created by the Government’s approach to the Migration Crisis

Shane O’Connor, Irish Refugee Protection Programme, Department of Justice and Equality

Safe and legal pathways to protection in Ireland

Nick Henderson, Irish Refugee Council

Personal experience of resettlement and integration in Ireland

Abbas Ghadimi, Business person and former Programme Refugee

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15:30 Questions and answers
15:50 Close

Registration: Registration for this conference is now closed.


The conference will take place at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland at Number 6 Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Getting there:

Dart: The closest Dart station is Pearse Station.
Luas: The Green line Luas terminus at St. Stephen’s Green West is a few minutes’ walk away.
Bus: Several bus routes through the city centre stop close to Kildare Street.



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