A person who states an intention to seek asylum or an unwillingness to leave the state for fear of persecution is interviewed by an immigration or international protection officer as soon as practicable after arriving, depending on the location where such an intention is expressed. The relevant officer informs the person that they may apply to the Minister for Justice and Equality for protection and that they are entitled to consult a solicitor and UNHCR. Where possible this is communicated in a language that the person understands. With respect to persons seeking protection at the border, as noted in section Access to the territory and push backs, it appears that people may sometimes be refused leave to land even when there are clear indicators of the fact they might have protection needs.
Where a person is detained, the immigration officer or member of the Garda Síochána shall inform the person of the power under which they are being detained; that they shall be brought before a court to determine whether they should be detained or released; that they are entitled to consult a solicitor; that they are entitled to notify the UNHCR of the detention; that they are entitled to leave the state at any time; and that they are entitled to the assistance of an interpreter.
The IPO, as soon as possible after receipt of an application shall give the applicant a statement in writing, specifying in a language that the applicant may reasonably be supposed to understand:
- the procedures to be observed in the investigation of the application;
- the entitlement to consult a solicitor;
- the entitlement of the applicant under the International Protection Act to be provided with the services of an interpreter
- the entitlement to make written submissions to the Commissioner in relation to his/her application;
- the duty of the applicant to cooperate and to furnish relevant information;
- the obligation to comply with the rules relating to the right to enter or remain in the state and the possible consequences of non-compliance;
- the possible consequences of a failure to attend the personal interview.
The IPO provides written information to every asylum seeker and there is a copy of the information booklet available on the recently established IPO website and is available in 18 languages.
All applicants are given recently issued information leaflets from IPO and the European Commission entitled ‘Information about the Dublin Regulation for applicants for international protection pursuant to Article 4 of Regulation (EU) No 604/2013’, a guide to the Dublin process in general. A separate information leaflet is also provided to persons who are subject to the Dublin procedure, entitled ‘I’m in the Dublin procedure – what does this mean? Information for applicants for international protection found in a Dublin procedure, pursuant to Article 4 of Regulation (EU) No. 604/2013’. A separate information leaflet aimed specifically at unaccompanied children is also available, entitled ‘Children asking for international protection, information for unaccompanied children who are applying for international protection pursuant to Article 4 of Regulation (EU) No 604/2013’. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that it is not always clear that the asylum seeker understands that they are being subject to the Dublin procedure. The onus is at all times placed on the asylum seeker to read and understand the content of the Dublin information leaflet, rather than ensuring that it is properly explained to the applicant by a caseworker or Authorised Officer.