Republic of Ireland

Country Report: General Last updated: 23/04/21


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It should be noted that, in general, Ireland places very few protection applicants or migrants in immigration detention and data for the numbers of people detained who subsequently apply for international protection are not collated.

Protection applicants and immigrants who may be detained generally fall in to six categories:

  • Non-nationals who arrive in Ireland and are refused “leave to land” (see Access to the Territory);
  • Protection applicants who are deemed to engage one of the categories of Section 20(1) IPA (see Grounds for Detention);
  • Protection applicants subject to the Dublin Regulation;
  • Non-nationals who cannot establish their identity;
  • Non-nationals with outstanding deportation orders;
  • Non-nationals awaiting trial for a criminal immigration-related offence(s).

According to the latest data from the Irish Prison Service, in 2018 there were 414 committals in respect of immigration issues involving 406 detainees compared to 418 committals involving 396 detainees in 2017.[1] There is no available data for 2020. However, according to the International Protection Office, 37 applications for international protection were made from persons in detention in 2020. The reason for the applicant’s detention is not known.[2]

Furthermore, there are no specially designated detention centres for protection applicants and irregular migrants. Protection applicants are detained within the general prison population, at a Garda Síochána (police) station or another designated place of detention. Places of detention are set out in S.I. 666/2016 – International Protection Act 2015 (Places of Detention) Regulations 2016, which was amended by the Reception Conditions Regulations 2018 to designate places of detention as “Every Garda Síochána Station [and] Cloverhill Prison.” There is no reference in legislation to the detention facility envisaged for Dublin Airport and as far as the authors are aware it has not opened yet.

[1]  Irish Prison Service, Annual Report 2018, available at:, 25.

[2] Information provided by the International Protection Office, April 2021.

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