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Ireland does not have a border; Minister says that, it is a challenge..!

Justice Minister Helen McEntee said the majority of refugees arriving in Ireland were via Northern Ireland.

Dublin: Justice Minister Helen McEntee disclosed that the majority of refugees entering Ireland are arriving through Northern Ireland, with over 80 percent crossing the border. Responding openly to a query from Fianna Fail Senator Robbie Gallagher, Minister McEntee expressed concern over this influx of refugees.

The minister confirmed that UK authorities have been engaged on this matter, and collaboration with An Garda and the Police Service of Northern Ireland has been initiated. She highlighted the significant challenge posed by the absence of a border on the island.

Thus far in the current year, more than 5,000 individuals have applied for asylum in Ireland, with the minister noting that Ireland serves as a secondary destination for over half of them. Under the United Nations Dublin Regulation of 2003, refugees are typically granted asylum by the country of first arrival, but Minister McEntee indicated Ireland’s willingness to explore alternative options, including the possibility of financial contributions to avoid accepting more asylum seekers.

Speaking before a joint parliamentary committee, the minister outlined plans for the Solidarity system under new EU migration rules, which would see 30,000 refugees, including 648 to Ireland, allocated across the European Union. Ireland would be required to pay €12 million to opt out of accepting additional refugees under this system. Minister McEntee clarified that the figure of 648 only accounts for those arriving directly in Ireland, with additional refugees also making their way to the country.

To address the rise in international protection seekers, Minister McEntee proposed measures to the cabinet, including processing asylum applications within 90 days. Notably, applications from Nigeria are being expedited, with more than 2,000 Nigerian asylum seekers recorded this year. One-third of all applications originate from Nigeria, with ongoing evaluations of these statistics every three months.

Furthermore, Minister McEntee highlighted a list of countries currently deemed safe, including Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Georgia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and South Africa. Despite this classification, refugees from Palestine and various Asian countries are among those entering Ireland. The minister underscored the importance of transparency in communicating these realities to the public.

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