Wednesday 21 March 2018

Only 25 granted asylum last year, lowest rate in EU

Aideen Sheehan

JUST 25 asylum seekers were approved as refugees in Ireland last year.

The number of successful asylum seekers has plummeted from more than 1,000 the previous year.

New figures released by Eurostat show Ireland now has the lowest approval rate for refugee status in the whole of Europe.

While a quarter of asylum seekers across Europe were successful in 2010, in Ireland just 1.5pc succeeded in their bid.

Refugee status is granted if a person is deemed to have shown they could be persecuted because of race, religion, politics nationality or membership of a particular social group.

The number of asylum seekers coming to Ireland fell dramatically last year from 2,690 in 2009 to 1,940, with Nigerians the largest group at 20pc of the total, followed by Chinese at 12pc, and Pakistanis at 10pc.

And just 25 applicants succeeded in their claims for refugee status, although another five were awarded subsidiary protection, which means they were found to have a real risk of suffering serious harm if they returned home.

Some 1,575 people had their claims for refugee status rejected by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner.

The high rejection rate is believed to have led to a flood of legal cases, with hundreds of cases pending before the High Court.

The Irish Refugee Council said that the "shockingly low" approval rate for asylum seekers in Ireland showed that the system was not functioning properly for applicants.

The successful asylum seekers came from Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Palestine, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Zimbabwe.


Responding to criticism of the low asylum approval rate, the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner said the High Court had commented favourably on more than one occasion on the quality of their determination process.

The low success rate for asylum seekers in Ireland contrasts with our nearest neighbour Britain, where it was much higher at 24pc last year, while in the Netherlands it was 44pc.

The number of asylum seekers to Ireland has fallen dramatically as the economy continues to slide.

Irish Independent

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