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Majority of International Protection Arrivals in Ireland Lack Passports, Government Figures Reveal

Dublin: Government data indicates that a significant majority of international protection refugees arriving in Ireland do so without proper documentation. In the past year, 3,285 individuals landed at Dublin Airport without documents, with the Department of Justice reporting that 70% of refugees arriving in 2023 lacked proper identification. Notably, one-third of these arrivals entered through Dublin Airport, excluding Ukrainian refugees who bypass the asylum process.

The Department of Justice is actively engaging with major airlines to address issues related to the availability of travel documents, collaborating with the Border Management Unit at the airport, which operates 24/7 to support immigration matters.

The Irish Refugee Council outlines on its website that individuals presenting their passports or relevant documents can potentially be immediately sent back to their home countries. However, concerns are raised about some individuals conveniently forgetting their travel documents.

Far-right groups have accused certain organisations, including those at airports, of aiding refugees in Ireland. Allegations suggest that religious radical groups from the Gulf and Asia are leveraging conflicts, such as the Palestinian-Israeli situation, to exert financial influence on Irish political parties under the guise of refugee support. This accusation extends to various political parties, including Sinn Féin, the Labour Party, and People Before Profit.

A significant fine of €1,476,000 has been imposed by the Garda National Immigration Bureau on airlines for carrier liability due to inadequate documentation, representing a one-third increase from fines in 2022. Travelling without a passport or destroying documents is a criminal offence, yet situations such as war may contribute to individuals lacking proper documentation.

Ireland, which does not grant visas for asylum seekers, processes refugee applications through the International Protection Office. Applicants are subjected to biometric procedures, including fingerprinting and cross-checking against EU databases. Decisions on applications are expedited, with over 1,000 applications processed monthly.

Despite the liberal approach of Irish political parties towards refugees, there is a notable contrast in the treatment of authorised immigrants invited to work in the country, who face strict restrictions, especially regarding family reunification. In 2023, Ireland received 13,277 asylum applications, with the largest percentage coming from Nigeria (15.7%), followed by applicants from Algeria, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Georgia. The Department of Justice oversees border control at Dublin Airport, where approximately one in 5,000 passengers arriving are undocumented. The Gardai handle controls at other airports and ports, with specific data on undocumented refugees arriving through ports not available.

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