A man who was granted international protection in Greece is now challenging in the High Court a finding that his application for protection here was inadmissible.
The Somalian (20s) claims he experienced ethnic violence from gangs, persistent racism and degrading treatment and inhumane living conditions that caused him to leave a refugee camp in Greece.
He was then homeless, forced to beg for food and to rely on food scraps from restaurant bins while in Greece, he alleges.
The married father-of-two used a false passport to travel to Ireland in November 2021 and applied for international protection on the basis of an alleged fear of violence from the Al-Shabab terrorist organisation in Somalia, he says. He did not disclose his previous application in Greece.
His Irish application was deemed inadmissible by the International Protection Office, and the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (Ipat) upheld this finding.
The man, who cannot be identified due to his immigration status, claims the Ipat erred in holding that the Minister for Justice was obliged to dismiss his international protection claim due to him having been granted protection in another Member State.
Mr Justice Charles Meenan remarked this week that this issue raised by applicants coming from Greece is arising “very, very frequently” before him in the High Court’s asylum list.
He made the comments while granting permission to pursue judicial reviews to three applicants, including the Somalian, who arrived in Ireland from Greece.
He said the Ipat and the Minister for Justice have indicated in previous similar cases that they are not opposed to the court granting permission for judicial review to be sought. For this reason, he was satisfied he could grant leave in these three actions while only the applicants were represented in court.
The decision of the Ipat and the Minister not to oppose the grant of leave in the earlier cases does not negate their ability to oppose the challenges at the next stage of the court process, the judge added. He adjourned the cases to a date next month.
‘Attacked by Al-Shabaab’
The Somalian, a former boat owner, alleges he was attacked by the Al-Shabaab terrorist group and forced to flee Somalia in 2019 after his brother was killed. His children and wife remain in Somalia, he says.
He was granted international protection in Greece in June 2020 but left for Ireland due to the conditions and degrading treatment there, he says.
His proceedings ask the High Court to quash the Ipat’s affirmation of the International Protection Office’s recommendation that his protection application be deemed inadmissible. The Ipat erred, he says, in finding he failed to adduce evidence of his living conditions in Greece.
A decision of the Court of Justice of the EU supports his contention, he says. The ruling does not require an applicant to provide particular content or material and does impose an obligation on the tribunal to consider “objective, reliable, specific and properly updated” information, he adds.
Country of origin information and previous decisions of the European Court of Human Rights support the existence of a “systematic failure” in relation to the supports and rights provided to international protection applicants in Greece, the man claims.
The Ipat’s assessment of his claim was “unreasonable and irrational” in failing to consider the existence of systematic failures on the basis of country of origin information, he adds.
It was also wrong to read the International Protection Act of 2015 without considering a section of the Interpretation Act of 2005 which, he says, provides that an individual shall not be returned to a territory where they would be threatened due to, among other things, race, religion, nationality, or would be subject to serious risk of inhuman or degrading treatment.