Ireland to opt-into EU migration pact

Ireland to opt-into EU migration pact

The Irish government has said it will seek to opt-in to measures in the EU Asylum and Migration Pact.

The decision will lead to the full repeal of the International Protection Act 2015 and the introduction of a new asylum regime with legally binding timeframes for decisions as well as a greater focus on faster deportations of unsuccessful applicants.

In a statement, justice minister Helen McEntee said: “EU migration is a shared European challenge that requires shared European solutions.

“EU agreement on the pact demonstrates that we stand strong together in ensuring our asylum systems are cohesive, fair, and efficient, that we work together in protecting our borders, tackling secondary movement, and demonstrating solidarity to the frontline states most acutely affected by irregular migration.

“The pact will harmonise asylum procedures and processes across the EU. It will speed up the processing of asylum applications so that people in need of our protection get it quickly and those who don’t are returned to their country of origin efficiently.

“It will oblige states to conduct enhanced screening and security checks on those arriving at borders and will reduce irregular secondary movements of asylum seekers, which will be particularly impactful for Ireland.

“I expect this decision to contribute in a major way to our overall aim, which is to reduce the level of secondary movement, reduce the number of applications we have to process, reduce the time people spend in state provided accommodation, and make the return of those not entitled to protection much more efficient.”

However, Nick Henderson, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, said: “We believe the pact is a case of the good, the bad and the ugly.

“It attempts to show solidarity with member states on the Mediterranean which is welcome. However the directives contain various devices and mechanisms for limiting access to the international protection process and then, when a person is in the process, making it harder to present their claim in a fair way.

“As an example, we are very concerned by the Department of Justice’s statement around the border procedure in particular and that ‘those who are processed under the border procedure will not be authorised to enter Ireland and will be accommodated at designated locations. Their applications, appeals and removal decisions must be processed within three months.’

“This seems to suggest some form or detention or restriction on movement which is of substantial concern.

“Implementation of the pact’s instruments and directives will take time and Ireland will have two years from when the legislation is approved to fully implement the changes.

“We will be closely monitoring legislation and implementation and relentlessly calling for the highest standards and protections in line with the fundamental right to claim asylum and existing international protection and human rights law.”

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