Regulation 19 of the Reception Conditions Regulations 2018 provides that a detained applicant has access to representatives of the UNHCR, as well as “family members, legal representatives and representatives of relevant, non-governmental organisations.” A consultation with a representative may take place in the sight but out of the hearing of a member of the Garda Síochána.
Section 20 IPA states that when a person makes an application for asylum, regardless of whether that application is made from detention or elsewhere, they should be informed of their rights to consult a lawyer and UNHCR.
Where an asylum seeker is detained under Section 20 IPA, Section 20(15) states that an immigration officer or a member of the Garda Síochána (police) must give an asylum seeker certain information without delay. Such information includes that the person is being detained, that he or she shall, as soon as practicable, be brought before a court which shall determine whether or not he or she should be committed to a place of detention or released pending consideration of that person’s application for international protection, that he or she is entitled to consult a solicitor (and entitled to the assistance of an interpreter for such a consultation), that he or she is entitled to have notification of his or her detention sent to UNHCR, that he or she is entitled to leave the State. The information should be given, where possible, in a language that the person understands.
The Legal Aid Board can provide legal assistance to protection applicants who are detained. No NGO provides routine legal assistance to detained protection applicants, however the Irish Refugee Council Law Centre, as well as private practitioners working in asylum law, may provide such support.