The updated AIDA Country Report on Ireland tracks the latest developments and challenges faced by the Irish asylum system in the procedure and reception, months after the first-ever transposition of the recast Reception Conditions Directive into domestic law.

Asylum procedure

The International Protection Office continues to deal with cases lodged prior to the International Protection Act 2015 commencement, in addition to steadily increasing new arrivals. According to most recent official data, due to the transitional case backlog, persons who made an application after January 2017 and whose cases fall outside of the prioritisation criteria will likely be waiting at least 18-20 months before they receive a date for their substantive interview. However, in the experience of the Irish Refugee Council’s casework, applicants who successfully request prioritisation have been granted an interview within two to six months.

Reception conditions

Ireland transposed the recast Reception Conditions Directive into Irish law through the enactment of the European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018. While the Regulations provide a new statutory basis for Direct Provision, in many respects, the transposition of the Reception Conditions Directive has not changed the existing structure of reception in Ireland. That being said, the Regulations do provide for a number of legislative guarantees that did not previously exist in the Irish reception context, such vulnerability assessments; appeals related to reception conditions; provisions for withdrawal and restriction of reception conditions; and provisions on detention conditions. The extent to which these provisions are being effectively implemented as of early 2019 appears to be limited in the experience of Irish Refugee Council casework.

In 2018, the Direct Provision estate reached capacity and no accommodation was available for newly arriving asylum seekers. Over the course of a single weekend in September 2018, a minimum of 20 newly arrived asylum seekers were not provided with any material receptions and were informed that no accommodation was available, rendering them homeless on arrival in Ireland. After intensive representations and media attention on the issue, alternative accommodation was provided by the Reception and Integration Agency on an emergency basis. This involved the contracting of accommodation in hotels and holiday homes to house asylum seekers on a temporary basis pending contracting for more permanent accommodation centres. These centres are known as “satellite centres”.

*This information was first published by AIDA managed by ECRE

This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin . You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.