General

Republic of Ireland

Country Report: General Last updated: 20/04/22

Author

Irish Refugee Council Visit Website

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] There was no available data once again for 2021, however, according to the IPO, 20 applications for international protection were made from persons in detention in 2021. The reason for applicants’ detention was not known.[3]

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.”

Following the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture’s 7th periodic visit report on Ireland, it was determined that steps ought to be taken to address the unsuitable practice of detaining in prison non-national for immigration-related offences.[4] In December 2021, it was announced that work had been completed on a new Block F in Cloverhill Remand Prison, which is intended to accommodate persons detained for immigration purposes and ensure that they are housed separately from prisoners on remand. Throughout the pandemic, Block F was repurposed as an isolation unit for prisoners who contracted COVID-19, to manage and control infection risk. It is intended that when the pandemic ends, Block F will revert to its original intended use. However, at time of writing, persons detained for immigration purposes continued to be housed with the general prison population.[5]

Additionally, a purpose-built immigration facility was opened at Dublin Airport for use in circumstances where persons are refused leave to land. The facility houses the newly opened Dublin Airport Garda Station and the Garda National Immigration Bureau. The Garda station contains four single person cells and two additional detention rooms. While the building works have been completed, the cells are not yet operational. According to the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, it is intended that GNIB will detain persons refused leave to land at the Dublin Airport Garda station when the detention facilities are fully commissioned; however, no indicative timeline has been provided regarding the time frame in which that will happen.[6]

 

 

 

[1] Irish Prison Service, Annual Report 2018, available at: https://bit.ly/36jyeVu, 25.

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

[3] Information provided by the International Protection Office, April 2022.

[4] Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, Response to Parliamentary Question No 485, 16 December 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3sIJQQM.

[5] ibid.

[6] ibid.

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