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McEntee also voiced her support for the EU Migration Pact. Sasko Lazarov

State reviewing eight countries to be added to the 'safe countries' list says Justice Minister

Helen McEntee said that the review process is expected to be completed “pretty quickly” and that the eight states.

THE JUSTICE MINISTER has said eight countries are being reviewed by her Department to be added to the list of states which the Government considers a safe country of origin in a matter of weeks.

Counties who are deemed safe by the State means the Department of Justice understand that there is generally no systematic persecution, no torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or no threat of violence from an armed conflict in that country.

While citizens from those countries can still seek International Protection in Ireland, it is done so under personal grounds.

Speaking in Galway at her party’s Ard Fheis today, Helen McEntee said her Department are currently reviewing the status of eight states which could potentially be added to the list of safe countries in the next number of weeks.

Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Georgia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and South Africa are currently on the safe countries of origin list along with Algeria and Botswana, who were added to the list in January.

The Minister said that the review process is expected to be completed “pretty quickly” and that the eight states, of which McEntee did not reveal the names, would be added to the list shortly after.

She added that such measures will benefit the State and its participation in the European Union’s Migration Pact, which the Dáil is due to debate next week.

The pact will see clauses such as the option to turn away people seeking international protection if they have come from another European member state or provide pay a fee to house those seeking refuge in another state.

McEntee said the pact will be important to Ireland and the European Union as the bloc does not have a “uniform system” to tackle the increase in the number of people seeking protection from the State.

The justice minister praised the proposals in the pact such as a timeline to improve asylum application processing times, greater powers to return applicants to another European country where they were already granted protection and an improved identification process.

“There’s absolutely nothing negative for Ireland when it comes to joining the migration pact. That’s why we’ve been investing in the system. That’s why we’ve been putting in place accelerates procedures so that when the time comes, we are ready and able to join,” McEntee said.

Additional reporting by Christina Finn in Galway.