A group of Irish government officials are calling on the European Union to offer financial help for asylum-seekers and other vulnerable migrants in the hope that it will help Ireland overcome a long-running financial crisis.
In a letter to EU ministers, the Irish Government has urged the bloc to take urgent action to stem the flow of asylum-seeking migrants in Europe and also provide cash for care in the Irish health system.
The Irish Government is calling on Europe to take immediate action to help its vulnerable citizens in need of care.
It said the Government of Ireland needs €4bn ($4.3bn) in cash to provide medical and dental care for the 3.7 million people who are seeking asylum in Europe.
The letter, sent to EU leaders by Health Minister Leo Varadkar, said the government is trying to meet its obligations under the Dublin Regulation, which requires Member States to provide financial support to migrants seeking asylum.
The EU has pledged to provide €100m ($120m) for asylum migrants this year, and another €40m for 2017.EU Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Frans Timmermans said he was “extremely concerned” by the Irish proposal.
He said the EU has already agreed to help Ireland in the coming years, and he would ask the Commission to “assist us in doing so.”
Mr Timmerman said it was important for Ireland to show that it is prepared to contribute to the European project and that it has the resources to do so.
Mr Timbermans said the Irish government was asking for the European Commission to make clear that Ireland is ready to help, but said it must also “demonstrate that the Irish people have a strong commitment to helping others.”
“The Irish people are prepared to put in the effort and that means a strong and consistent commitment to help,” he said.