The Irish Refugee Sponsorship Initiative is part of The Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative which is .. " a joint initiative led by the Government of Canada; the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) , the Open Society Foundations; the Giustra Foundation; and the University of Ottawa " ... [link]
It was announced in September 2016 following the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants 2016, and officially launched in December 2016 in Ottawa, Canada.
Ireland signed up to the initiative through Minister for Justice Charles Flanagan
and David Stanton, Minister of State for Immigration .
Only 4 Other Countries have enrolled in the programme so far .. Argentina , New zealand , the UK and its founder Canada .
As part of our membership , Ireland has agreed that in addition to our existing intake of refugees and asylum seekers (through the refugee protection programme and asylum system) , a new system would be established which will be led by the private sector , various NGOs and Lobbiests .
Under the new system , private organisations or sponsors apply to the government to bring in migrants/refugees from various migrant camps in Europe , Africa or the Middle East . The arrivals bypass the asylum process and are given direct housing , employment and schooling by their sponsors .
For example , The Lismore Welcome Project in Co Waterford which has been working with asylum seekers at the Clonea Strand Hotel since 2016 recently applied to the programme to bring in extra people from camps in Jordan / Lebanon and resettle them directly in Lismore .
On Monday , the Lismore project held a public meeting at which Minister for State David Stanton explained that .. "if each community around the country does this we can actually have 4,000 people here fairly soon and spread around the country"
Statistics from the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner show that between 20/11/2000 and 31/12/2016 , there were 76,547 asylum applications processed in Ireland making Ireland one the highest intakers of asylum seekers per head of population of any country in the EU . [link ]
At the end of October 2018, there were 37 Asylum Accomodation Centres spread accross 17 Counties accomoding 5,848 asylum seekers . There were a further 5 accommodation centres established as part of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme . [link ]
The Open Society Foundation , which is part funding the new government initiative , is a philanthropic organisation funded by billionaire George Soros . In 2016 it was found to have given illegal donations to Amnesty International to campaign for abortion in Ireland which breached the1997 Electoral Act , which prohibits foreign donations from third party organisations for "political purposes" . In November 2017 , the Standards in Public Office Commission ordered Amnesty to return the donation to the open society foundation .