Asylum applications to the State continue to fall


Asylum applications to the State have continued to fall with a 9 per cent drop recorded this year, according to the Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell.  

The preliminary figures, announced by Mr McDowell, show that 4,323 asylum applications have been received in 2005 as compared to 4,766 applications last year.

This represents a decrease of 9 per cent on the 2004 figure and a 63 per cent decrease on the 2002 figure when 11,634 applications were received.

Applications from Nigeria and Romania continue to feature in the top 6 main source countries. The expected top five source countries for 2005 are Nigeria, Somalia, Romania, Sudan and Iran.

Commenting on the continued fall in applications, the Minister stated: "I am satisfied that this progress could not have been achieved without the ongoing implementation of a comprehensive series of strategies in the areas of asylum and immigration undertaken during the period to date of this Government ."

Some 393 deportation orders were effected in 2005 along with 208 transfer orders - to other EU Member States under the Dublin II Regulation. This is an increase of 220 per cent on 2004.

An additional 336 people who would otherwise have been removed from the State opted to be assisted to return home voluntarily. In 2005, 6 charter plane operations took place, 4 to Nigeria and 2 to Romania and Moldova.

The Minister added: "An additional contributory factor to achievements in this area is the key operational work of the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) in tackling illegal immigration."

The Visa Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs will formally transfer to the control of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service with effect from 1 January 2006.