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Asylum applications in Ireland: measures to speed up decision-making processes

Dublin: The Irish government is actively streamlining its approach to processing international protection applications, signalling a commitment to faster decision-making for refugees in Ireland. Efforts include an increase in staffing at the International Protection Office (IPO) and additional funding. The IPO now boasts double the number of staff for applicant interviews, with an added twenty interview rooms.

In November 2022, Justice Minister Helen McEntee implemented a system aimed at expediting the processing of international protection applications. Notably, the list of safe countries was expanded to encompass Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and South Africa.

The Department of Integration is poised for substantial projects to secure accommodations for new arrivals, with plans for various reception centers. Details of these initiatives are pending, but it is clear that the current overflow of emergency centres and tents is prompting urgent action, even as accusations circulate that the government is hastily accepting new refugees.

Citing the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, which allows asylum seekers based on factors such as race, religion, nationality, political affiliation, or social group membership, Ireland welcomed over 13,200 refugees in the past year, a modest decrease from the previous year.

Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman supports the acceptance of up to 15,000 people annually, although the challenge of providing housing amid a housing crisis remains a focal point of discussion.

Across the European Union, there is a notable rise in the number of refugees, with Nigeria, Algeria, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Georgia contributing significantly to those arriving in Ireland. The appeal of Ireland’s high salaries and ample job opportunities is acknowledged as a magnet for refugees, particularly from Georgia, prompting the Georgian government to establish a dedicated police system at the embassy in Dublin to aid refugees.

Criticism has emerged from the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland regarding the expansion of the list of safe countries, alleging that this move is intended to discourage people from seeking protection in Ireland. While some advocate for the Dublin Regulation as a means to manage immigration, there are robust claims asserting its inefficacy.

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