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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 23 October, 2014

Ireland rejects more asylum seekers than most EU countries

Only 8.6pc of asylum seekers in Ireland are granted protection – compared to an EU average of 25.2pc.

A protestor against racism against immigrants outside the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service HQ on Dublin's south quays.
A protestor against racism against immigrants outside the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service HQ on Dublin's south quays.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

IRELAND’S IMMIGRATION SERVICES are more likely to reject applications from asylum seekers than all but a handful of the authorities in other EU countries.

New figures published by the EU this morning shows that of the 1,625 asylum cases ruled on by Irish authorities last year, only 140 applications were granted some kind of positive protection – an approval rate of only 8.6 per cent.

This is well below the EU average of 25.2 per cent – with over 102,000 asylum seekers being granted some kind of protection last year, out of over 407,000 applicants.

Malta, at almost 72 per cent, and Italy, at nearly 62 per cent, had the highest approval ratings – though the figures for both are skewed by the larger-than-usual numbers coming from Syria to escape the ongoing civil war, as well as large numbers fleeing unrest in Mali and Somalia.

Only three countries had a higher rejection rate than Ireland – with Luxembourg accepting only 1.8 per cent of applicants, Greece 4.9 per cent, and Cyprus at 5.2 per cent.

The figures show a significant drop-off in the numbers seeking asylum in Ireland, with a total of 1,625 applications dealt with last year – down by 40 per cent from the 2,695 dealt with in 2011.

Three out of every seven decisions dealt with by the Irish authorities were appeals on previous decisions, a higher proportion than all but two other countries – Romania (where appeals account for 57.7pc of decisions) and Cyprus (42.5pc).

In all, Ireland dealt with first-time applications from 935 people last year – 0.34 per cent of the European total. This is significantly fewer than the number Ireland would have dealt with, if asylum applications were distributed proportionally between EU members on the basis of their existing populations.

A breakdown of the figures showed that people coming from Syria, Somalia and Pakistan were among the populations granted protection status in Ireland.

The figures, which rounds the number of successful applicants to the nearest five, shows citizens from each those three nations being granted asylum 15 times last year.

Unsurprisingly, Syrian refugees accounted for the most applicants across the continent last year.

Read: Calls for Direct Provision to be overhauled

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