Algeria and Botswana to be added list of ‘safe’ countries for asylum applicants

Two new countries to be added to list of safe countries of origin for international protection applicants

Algeria and Botswana will be added to Ireland’s list of “safe countries” of origin.

The move comes as immigration tops the list of issues getting the attention of voters in the past month, according to public sentiment tracking by Ipsos B&A.

Safe countries are places where generally there is no persecution, torture, inhumane treatment or conflict. It is understood that Minister for Justice Helen McEntee examined conditions in a number of other countries and then decided to add the further two to the existing list.

The designation is part of a memo due to be brought to Cabinet on Tuesday, which will see more asylum seekers go through a fast tracking process.


The following countries are currently designated as safe countries of origin: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and South Africa.

It comes after a new measure of public sentiment introduced by The Irish Times and Ipsos B&A on Monday revealed that immigration is topping the list of issues grabbing voters’ attention. Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of respondents to the survey cited immigration issues when asked what they had noticed about what the Government had done recently. This is in contrast to last July when immigration was mentioned by just 6 per cent of voters.

The vast majority of immigration comments – 81 per cent – were negative, with just 17 per cent positive and 2 per cent neutral.

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Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times