Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 July 2014, 12:05 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Ireland

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 25 May 2004
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Ireland , 25 May 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/40b4593d10.html [accessed 23 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

At the end of 2003, Ireland hosted more than 5,800 refugees and asylum seekers in need of protection. These included some 4,600 with pending applications, 1,200 persons granted refugee status during the year (830 on appeal and 350 in the first instance), and 26 refugees admitted from overseas.

Ireland received 7,900 asylum applications in 2002, about 32 percent less than in 2002. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the largest numbers of applicants came from Nigeria (3,100), Romania (690), Congo-Kinshasa (260), Moldova (240), Somalia (180), and Ghana (180).

Out of 5,800 decisions, Irish authorities granted refugee status to 345 persons, an approval rate of 6 percent, down from 13 percent in 2002. Additionally, 830 individuals received refugee status on appeal. Over 80 asylum seekers were granted temporary protection during the year.

Ireland rejected around 5,500 applications during 2003, while another 2,000 were deemed abandoned and administratively closed.

New Developments

In September, a new Immigration Act came into force introducing significant amendments to the 1996 Refugee Act. The act established carrier's liability fines equivalent to $1,350 (1,500 Euros); amended the definition of a refugee closer in line with the Refugee Convention and its exclusion clauses; and increased from 10 to 21 days the time asylum seekers may be detained in Ireland. The law introduced a new asylum determination category of "withdrawn" for applicants who fail to comply with procedural requirements or who voluntarily withdraw their applications, and provided for resettlement of refugees in Ireland through UNHCR.

The law prioritized applications at both first instance and appeal on several criteria including the grounds and dates of an application, and the applicant's country of origin, family relationships and age. At year's end, however, authorities had prioritized applications from only two classes of cases nationals from countries of origin designated safe (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia), and nationals from Nigeria. The applications of such applicants are "fast-tracked".

Under the new law, applicants from safe countries, applicants with claims deemed manifestly unfounded, and those who didn't apply for asylum in Ireland "as soon as reasonably practicable" who receive negative initial decisions may apply only for an administrative appeal, and have to submit such an appeal within four days. During the year, 160 cases were deemed manifestly unfounded. Ireland deported nearly 440 failed asylum seekers, and transferred 37 cases under the Dublin Convention.

During the year, a new government department, the Reception and Integration Agency, became responsible for accommodating all asylum seekers in communal centers, replacing private accommodations.

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