In an email exchange with the Global Detention Project, UNHCR Ireland reported that to their knowledge, deportations and removals had been suspended in light of the Covid-19 crisis. The International Protection Office was still functioning throughout the pandemic and applications were being accepted. However, the number of new applicants had decreased because of fewer arrivals. Applications for international protection at the borders and airports were also being accepted.
In responding to the Global Detention Project’s Covid-19 survey, NASC, the Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre, reported that Ireland had not established a moratorium on new immigration detention orders and no immigration detainees had been released due to the pandemic. Moreover, according to NASC, immigration detainees are not treated separately to the general prison population (see also the 25 March Ireland update on this platform). Visits to prisons were restricted and new staffing routines were put in place. No Covid-19 cases have been reported among the prison population in Ireland for the time being.
NASC confirmed that deportations and removals had been suspended due to the pandemic and that there had been an increase in the number of persons denied entry at the border. All immigration permits that were due to expire from 20 March to 20 July, were automatically renewed for a period of two months and those expiring from 20 July to 20 August, were extended for one month (see 16 April Ireland update on this platform). This is due to the fact that no visa applications were processed or issued, save for certain priority categories from 20 March to 20 July.
Designated centres were put in place to allow asylum seekers to self-isolate if diagnosed with the virus (see the 29 April Ireland update on this platform). There were a certain number of outbreaks in some asylum seekers accommodation centres, and these centres were completely locked down to control the spread of the disease.
- NASC, the Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre, Global Detention Project’s Covid-19 survey, 30 July 2020.
- UNHCR Ireland, Email exchange with Global Detention Project (Stella Warnier), 28 May 2020.
- Global Detention Project, Immigration Detention in Ireland, August 2019, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/europe/ireland
- Skellig Star residents, Locked Inside the Centre During Quarantine, (CNN, “Amid the Pandemic, a Group of Asylum Seekers was moved to a small, rural Irish town. Then they started testing positive for Covid-19,” 16 June 2020, https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/16/europe/ireland-asylum-direct-provision-coronavirus-intl/index.html)