Immigrants from over 90 countries seek asylum in Ireland
7 June 2007 | 18:59 |
FOCUS News Agency
Immigrants from more than 90 countries sought political asylum in Ireland last year, according to an official annual report out Thursday.
The Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC) considers applications for refugee status and makes recommendations to the justice minister on whether people should be allowed to remain in the country.
The number of asylum seeker applications last year was 4,314, a marginal drop on the 4,323 who applied in 2005. Two-thirds of the applicants were men.
ORAC, which is continuing to deal with a backlog of cases, said that of the 4,784 applications finalised last year, 397 or 9.4 percent were granted refugee status and allowed to remain in the country.
ORAC said the top five countries of origin for applicants last year were Nigeria (24 percent), Sudan (seven percent), Romania (seven percent), Iraq (five percent) and Iran (five percent).
“Whilst applications were received from 91 countries overall only 44 countries had more than 10 applicants each,” it said.
“Of the applications outstanding at the end of the year there were only 22 countries with more than 10 applicants each.”
The report said cases remained complex with some requiring more than one substantive interview. Multiple grounds for seeking asylum were frequently claimed.
The reasons applications were refused included “cases where there were serious grounds to suspect that applicants may have been guilty of serious crimes such as crimes against humanity, war crimes and/or serious non political crimes.”
Ireland has been tightening up its immigration laws in recent years.
The number of asylum applications peaked in 2002 when 11,634 applied, one of the highest rates per head of population in the European Union.