Irish plan for implementing EU migration pact, including new accommodation centres, expected by November

Accelerated processing times and designated accommodation centres form part of changes in controversial EU deal

A makeshift camp set up by migrants along the banks of the Grand Canal in Dublin. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

An implementation plan for the controversial European Union migration pact, to include new legislation, a doubling or trebling of staff involved in processing asylum applications, and the locations of new processing and accommodation centres, will be produced by November, The Irish Times understands.

The Government will next week opt into the pact, which aims to streamline asylum processes across EU member states with legally binding processing times, sharing of information about international asylum applicants (IPAs) and efficient returns of unsuccessful applicants.

It will require protection applications to be processed within three to six months, fingerprinting and photographing of adult and child applicants and the establishment of designated accommodation centres.

Full repeal of the International Protection Act 2015 will begin next week, with a raft of new heads of Bills expected from the autumn.


Accelerated processing times, particularly for a specific cohort of IPAs who will be placed in a mandatory “border procedure”, will require significant increases in staff to process applications, provide legal advice, upgrade IT capabilities and in social work, child protection, medical care and administration.

The mandatory ‘border procedure’ will apply to those who arrive without documents; from countries where less than 20 per cent of protection applications are successful; and who are ‘flagged’ on a new EU-wide asylum database, Eurodac, as a security concern.

They will be accommodated in designated centres and have their applications processed within 12 weeks. They will not be deemed to have entered Ireland and will be required to remain at their designated centres.

Ireland will have to have accommodation for 429 IPAs in the ‘border procedure’ at any time and for up to 1,756 per year.

Children will be fingerprinted and their photographs taken for the Eurodac system, regarded as a crucial step to combat child trafficking.

The new measures, being seen as the most ambitious overhaul of the asylum system, must in force by mid-2026. Though Ireland is not required to publish its implementation plan until early next year, Department of Justice officials, working with other departments, aim to produce a draft plan by November.

More than 160 organisations across Europe, including global human-rights organisations such as Amnesty and Human Rights Watch, have raised concerns about the pact’s contents, while here a group of rural Independent TDs have said the pact should be put to the people in a referendum, citing concerns about an apparent “transfer of sovereignty” over immigration policy to Brussels.

The developments come as the latest data show there were 2,067 male asylum seekers without accommodation on Friday – up from 2,006 on Tuesday. The figures, published by the Department of Children, show 3,814 “eligible” male IPAs had presented for asylum since December 4th when the International Protection Accommodation Service announced it would no longer provide accommodation to this group when they applied for asylum. This compares with 3,734 on Tuesday.

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Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times