Minister announces first airlift of Kosovo refugees
Ms. Liz O'Donnell TD, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs with special responsibility for Development Cooperation, today confirmed that the UNHCR has been informed that Ireland is ready and willing to take refugees and that close contact is being maintained with the UNHCR as preparations move ahead to receive Ireland's first group of refugees.
The Minister announced that the first airlift of refugees from Macedonia will take place in the week beginning 10 May. The precise date for the first planeload, which will carry approximately 150 refugees, will be announced once the travel arrangements have been finalised.
In announcing the first intake of refugees, the Minister said that "the relevant agencies have been working hard to source and make ready suitable accommodation for the refugees in the south and southwest. Some work is required to ready them for occupation but we are confident that this can be done in time".
"Additional accommodation is being sourced to allow for additional flights of refugees in the near future", the Minister added.