Admissibility procedure

Republic of Ireland

Country Report: Admissibility procedure Last updated: 03/06/24


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General (scope, criteria, time limits)

Section 21 IPA contains provisions outlining the circumstances under which an application may be deemed inadmissible by the presiding International Protection Officer. According to Section 21(2) IPA, an application for international protection may be deemed inadmissible where:

  1. Another Member State has granted refugee status or subsidiary protection to the applicant; or
  2. A country other than a Member State is a First Country of Asylum for the applicant.

Where the international protection officer is of the opinion that the above inadmissibility criteria are met, they shall make a recommendation to the Minister that the application be deemed inadmissible. In such circumstances, the Minister shall notify the applicant and their legal representative of the recommendation, including a statement of the reasons for the recommendations, a copy of the international protection officer’s report and a statement informing the person of their entitlements, including the right to an appeal (without an oral hearing) to the IPAT within ten days of receiving the decision.

Throughout 2023, 145 applications for international protection were deemed inadmissible. 138 of these applications were deemed inadmissible on the grounds that another Member State had granted international protection to the applicant, while 45 applications were deemed inadmissible on the basis of the ‘safe third country’ concept, all in respect of the United Kingdom. No application was deemed inadmissible on the basis of the ‘safe first country’ concept.[1]

The Irish Refugee Council wrote to the IPO, IPAS and HSE in March 2021 stating that a person who has received a recommendation that their application for international protection be inadmissible continue to receive reception conditions as no final determination had been made. Following engagement by IRC with the relevant stakeholders, it was determined that an individual remains an ‘applicant’ within the meaning of the 2015 Act unless and until the Minister declares their application to be inadmissible pursuant to s.21(11), therefore entitling them to material reception conditions. From September 2021, the IPO began applying this interpretation to all individuals subject to the inadmissibility procedure and this remained the case at the time of updating.[2]


Personal interview

All applicants upon lodging an application for international protection at the IPO are granted a preliminary interview to obtain basic information about the applicant and their claim. This preliminary interview may also be carried out by an immigration officer and it is unclear from the wording of the legislation if this could occur at the frontiers of the State at ports of entry. Section 13(2) IPA states that a preliminary interview with the applicant shall be conducted to ascertain, among other things, whether any circumstances giving rise to inadmissibility considerations may arise. If any of the inadmissibility criteria arising under Section 21(2) IPA are identified, then a recommendation is made by the IPO to the Minister that the application be deemed inadmissible and an application for international protection may not proceed. The applicant (and their legal representative where applicable) is advised of this recommendation in writing and is informed of their entitlement under s.21(6) of the IPA 2015 to appeal to the International Protection Appeals Tribunal against the recommendation.[3]



Where an inadmissibility recommendation is made, the applicant may make an appeal against that decision within a timeframe designated by the Minister. The time limit for appealing inadmissibility decisions has been set at ten working days according to International Protection Act 2015 (Procedures and Periods for Appeals) Regulations 2017 (S.I. No. 116/2017), prescribing specific time periods for different classes of appeal.[4] In 2019, the IPAT received 26 appeals against inadmissibility decisions. As of September 2020 the IPAT had received 6 appeals[5]. Data in respect of appeals for 2021, 2022 and 2023 was not available at the time of updating.

Under Section 21(6) IPA, a person who receives notification from the Minister detailing the inadmissibility of their case, at the same time receives a written statement setting out the reasons for the inadmissibility finding and informing the person of their entitlement to appeal to the IPAT against such a recommendation.

The appeal procedure against inadmissibility decisions differs from the Regular Procedure: Appeal insofar as there is no option for an oral hearing.[6]


Legal assistance

All asylum applicants can register with the Legal Aid Board as soon as they have made their application to the IPO. Information and guidance on legal advice is contained in Section 3.14 of the Information Booklet provided to applicants with the questionnaire that they are required to fill out as part of their application. Applicants who access the Legal Aid Board are assigned a solicitor and a caseworker.

However, if the inadmissibility procedure happens prior to being provided with a Questionnaire or at the frontiers of the State, it is likely that the applicant will not know how to avail themselves of legal advice so in practice may not receive assistance in an admissibility procedure. Furthermore, the guidance issued by the Legal Aid Board to solicitors on its private practitioner’s panel appears to indicate that legal advice is only available once the applicant has been admitted into the single procedure.[7]


Suspension of returns for beneficiaries of protection in another Member State

There is no blanket suspension on returns for beneficiaries of protection to any Member State in either law or policy.

However, transfers to Greece were suspended following the European Court of Human Rights’ decision in M.S.S. v. Belgium and Greece in 2011.[8] In the experience of the Irish Refugee Council, it remains the case as of 2023 that applicants who previously held international protection status in Greece are generally not subject to the inadmissibility procedure.[9]

In August 2021, in response to the emerging humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, the Department of Justice announced that Afghan nationals facing transfers to other EU countries pursuant to the Dublin III procedure would have their applications for international protection examined in Ireland on compassionate grounds.[10] However, the extent to which this applied, or continues to apply in practice, for Afghan applicants who previously held international protection status in another state remains unclear.




[1] International Protection Office, April 2024.

[2] Information provided by Irish Refugee Council Information and Advocacy Service, December 2023.

[3] Section 21(4) IPA 2015.       

[4] Section 21(6) IPA; Section 3(a) International Protection Act 2015 (Procedures and Periods for Appeals) Regulations 2017.

[5] Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, Response to Parliamentary Question No 720, 29 September 2020, available at:

[6] Section 21(7) IPA.

[7] Legal Aid Board, Best Practice Guidelines, Information Note for Private Practitioners, February 2017, available at:

[8] M.S.S. v. Belgium and Greece, Application no. 30696/09, 21 January 2011, available at:

[9] Information provided by Irish Refugee Council Information and Advocacy Service, February 2024.

[10] RTÉ, Department of Justice to prioritise international protection applications from Afghan Nationals, 18 August 2021, available at:

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation