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940 people sought asylum in Ireland last year

The numbers seeking refuge in EU countries rose 32 per cent in 2013, mainly due to the crisis in Syria.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

ASYLUM APPLICATIONS IN the EU were up 32 per cent last year, according to a new report, mostly driven by the crisis in Syria.

The report from the UN refugee agency UNHCR, says 398,200 asylum claims were registered in the 28 member states of the European Union, compared to 301,000 the previous year. In Ireland, 940 people applied for asylum – the same number as in 2012 and the first time figures have not fallen since 2006.

Sophie Magennis, Head of UNHCR office in Ireland said the fact that there was no drop in numbers in Ireland this year “may indicate that greater number of people from new countries, such as Syria, are seeking asylum here”.

In Ireland, the top 10 populations of origin of asylum applicants by country in 2013 were as follows:

  1. Nigeria – 129
  2. Pakistan – 91
  3. Democratic Republic of Congo – 72
  4. Zimbabwe – 70
  5. Malawi – 55
  6. Algeria – 51
  7. Albania – 48
  8. Syrian Arab Republic – 37
  9. Afghanistan – 32
  10. Bangladesh – 29

Germany was the largest single recipient with 109,600 new asylum claims, followed by France and Sweden. Turkey, currently the biggest refugee hosting country in Europe due to the Syria crisis, also saw 44,800 asylum claims lodged in 2013, mainly from nationals of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Read: How a doctor had his asylum request rejected because someone ‘didn’t like him’>

Read: “It is misleading to call Direct Provision inadequate” – Shatter>

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