Ireland – Third Lowest European Rate for Granting Asylum

From the Irish Refugee Council: The latest European statistics on granting asylum show that Ireland has the third lowest The Irish Refugee Council welcomes the improvement in acceptance rates at first instance, but expresses concern at the continuing below average rate of acceptance in Ireland. 10% of cases were granted status at first instance and just 6.8% were successful at appeal. The total percentage of positive decisions was 8.3% compared with 34% in Portugal, 15% in Spain and 39% in the UK. Only Greece at 4.8%, Cyprus (5%) and Luxembourg (1.7%) had lower acceptance rates. Sue Conlan, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, says: “The continuing low numbers of grants of refugee status or subsidiary protection in Ireland, which leads to the huge delays, show that there are serious deficiencies in the decision making processes. In particular, the statistics of 6.8% positive decisions at appeals bear out the severe criticisms of the refugee appeal body, the Refugee Appeal Tribunal, by the superior courts in recent months. “These deficiencies, which are at the root cause of the delays in the system, will not be remedied without significant reforms, including providing adequate legal advice for applicants and overhauling the appeal body. Neither of which are contained in the proposed the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill.”

Supreme Court Rules in ‘Right to Die’ Case

The Supreme Court has recently ruled in a high profile 'Right to Die' case. The case involved a retired lecturer, Marie Fleming, who is terminally ill due to multiple sclerosis. The Court ruled that while suicide is no longer a criminal offence in Ireland, that did not mean that a Constitutional right to take one's own life existed. It further stated thet Ms Fleming did not have the right to assisted sucide under the pricnipal of equal treatment. Ms Fleming was appealing a High Court decision which refused to grant orders which would alow somone to lawfully help her die at a time of her choosing.

Note on the Common Travel Area

The High Court has recently stated that only UK nationals and Irish citizens may avail of the reduced border restrictions of the Common Travel Are. In practice this means that non-nationals travelling between Ireland and the UK, including the North of Ireland, may face difficulties returning to the South of Ireland

Often a person's right to remain in Ireland is conditional upon that person remaining within the State. This may become an issue where a person unwittingly crosses the border to the North of Ireland. On return to the South the person may be required to re-apply for permission to land or be in the State.

The case involved a Bolivian couple who had travelled to the North of Ireland onwards to Scotland and then to London. They had been given permission to remain in Ireland for one month from their first arrival in Dublin

The Court noted that there appears to be a common misconception that foreign nationals could also benefit from the Common Travel Area, which, according to the court, not the case. The couple were stopped by the UK authorities in Scotland and sought to deport them, they asked the Irish authorities whether they were entitled to re-enter Ireland which the Irish authorities said they were not.

The Court noted that the couple had probably made an innocent mistake.