Under Section 72 IPA the Minister may make an order designating a country as safe and it should be deemed a safe country of origin for the purposes of the single procedure. In deciding to make such an order the Minister must be satisfied that, on the basis of the legal situation, the application of the law within a democratic system and the general political circumstances, it can be shown that there is generally and consistently no persecution, no torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and no threat by reason of indiscriminate violence in situations of international or internal armed conflict. In making the assessment, the Minister shall have regard to the extent to which protection is provided against persecution or mistreatment by (a) the relevant laws and regulations of the country and the manner in which they are applied, (b) observance of the rights and freedoms laid down in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and UN Convention against Torture, in particular the rights from which derogation cannot be made under Article 15(2) ECHR; (c) respect for the non–refoulement principle in accordance with the Geneva Convention, and (d) provision for a system of effective remedies against violations of those rights and freedoms. The Minister’s decision shall be based on a number of sources of information including, in particular, information from other Member States, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), the High Commissioner, the Council of Europe and such other international organisations as the Minister considers appropriate.
The Minister may amend or revoke any such order and shall review on a regular basis the situation of any country designated under Section 72.
In April 2018, the Minister for Justice commenced S.I. No. 121 of 2018, which updated the safe country of origin list to include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, Georgia and South Africa. The United Kingdom was also recently designated a ‘safe third country’ pursuant to the International Protection Act 2015.
The safe country of origin list continues to be applied in practice, namely in response to a significant increase in the numbers of applicants to Ireland from those countries since 2017. In 2019, Albania and Georgia were the top two countries of origin for international protection applicants in Ireland with 972 and 631 applications respectively. According to the latest application figures, South Africa is amongst the top 5 countries of origin for international protection in Ireland, with 77 applications, accounting for 5.5% of the total applications, as of November 2020.
Where it appears to the IPO that an applicant is a national or has a right of residence in a designated safe country then the country will be deemed to be a safe country of origin for the purposes of an assessment of an applicant’s international protection application only where: (a) the country is the country of origin of the applicant; and (b) the applicant has not submitted any serious grounds for considering the country not to be a safe country of origin in his or her particular circumstances and in terms of his or her eligibility for international protection. There is no appeal against a designation that a person comes from a designated safe country of origin. It remains to be seen how this will be applied in practice.
 S.I. No. 121 of 2018, International Protection Act 2015 (Safe Countries of Origin) Order 2018.
 Section 33 IPA.