Nearly all asylum requests rejected


THE GOVERNMENT dismissed the overwhelming majority of asylum claims it processed last year, giving Ireland the highest rejection rate in the EU.

New figures from Eurostat, the statistical arm of the EU Commission, show Ireland granted refugee status in the first instance to 25 applicants from a total of 1,600 last year.

This equated with a rejection rate of 98 per cent, more than any other EU country and well in excess of the average 75 per cent rate of dismissal in the 27 EU states. The second highest rejection rate was in Greece (97 per cent) and it was 92 per cent in Lithuania, 88 per cent in Poland and 86 per cent in France.

Refugee rights campaigners called for reform of the Irish system. Sue Conlan of the Irish Refugee Council said: “Ireland’s exceptionally low instance of positive decisions, as compared to other EU countries, is a result of a culture of disbelief.” She said Ireland’s asylum system was “broken”, with people arriving in the State left with no option but to claim asylum even where that may not be appropriate.

The Department of Justice said the Irish figures differed from those of almost all other EU member states. “The reason for this is that Ireland does not operate a single procedure and therefore our recognition rate does not include subsidiary protection decisions and decisions made for humanitarian reasons at first instance,” a spokeswoman said.

She said Minister for Justice Alan Shatter planned to establish a single procedure in which all elements of an application to remain in Ireland would be dealt with together.

The figures show that 415 people made new asylum applications in Ireland in the October-December period last year, down 13 per cent on the previous three months. More than half the applicants came from Nigeria, China and Pakistan.