International protection in Irish law

The key act when it comes to international protection from an Irish law perspective is the International Protection Act 2015.

This act covers

  • Qualification for international protection
  • Application for international protection
  • Assessments of applications for international protection
  • Examination of applications at first instance
  • Appeals to the international protection appeals tribunal
  • Declarations and other outcomes
  • And more

Section 34 of International Protection Act 2015 provides

Examination of application

34. An international protection officer shall examine each application for international protection for the purpose of deciding whether to recommend, under section 39 (2)(b), that—

(a) the applicant should be given a refugee declaration,

(b) the applicant should not be given a refugee declaration and should be given a subsidiary protection declaration, or

(c) the applicant should be given neither a refugee declaration nor a subsidiary protection declaration.

Section 21 deals with inadmissible applications. This happens when

  1. Another EU Member State has granted refugee status
  2. A country other than an EU Member State is a first country of asylum for the person
  3. The person arrived in the State from a safe third county that is a safe country for that person

A country will only be recognised as a first country of asylum if the person has been recognised as a refugee in that country and he can still avail of protection in that country.

A safe third country is

For the purposes of this section, a safe third country is a safe country for a person if he or she—

(a) having regard to the matters referred to in subsection (18), has a sufficient connection with the country concerned on the basis of which it is reasonable for him or her to return there,

(b) will not be subjected in the country concerned to the death penalty, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and

(c) will be re-admitted to the country concerned.

Section 22 (4) deals with subsequent applications. There is a right to remain in the State until a decision is made by the designated body.

The definition of a refugees is set out in section 2 (1) of International Protection Act 2015:

“refugee” means a person, other than a person to whom section 10 applies, who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, is outside his or her country of nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country, or a stateless person, who, being outside of the country of former habitual residence for the same reasons as mentioned above, is unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to return to it;

Acts of persecution are set out in section 7 of International Protection Act 2015.

Section 47 deals with outcomes including refugee declaration and subsidiary protection declaration. Subsidiary protection is an additional form of international protection that is complementary to refugee protection. A person eligible for subsidiary protection is not a national of a Member State of the EU, does not qualify as a refugee but faces a real risk of suffering serious harm if returned to his/her country of origin.

Serious harm is defined as

“serious harm” means—

(a) death penalty or execution,

(b) torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of a person in his or her country of origin, or

(c) serious and individual threat to a civilian’s life or person by reason of indiscriminate violence in a situation of international or internal armed conflict;

Actors of persecution or serious harm:

Actors of persecution or serious harm

30. For the purposes of this Act, actors of persecution or serious harm include—

(a) a state,

(b) parties or organisations controlling a state or a substantial part of the territory of a state, and

(c) non-state actors, if it can be demonstrated that the actors referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b), including international organisations, are unable or unwilling to provide protection against persecution or serious harm.

Section 10 International Protection Act 2015 deals with exclusion from being refugee.

Check out the International Protection Act 2015.

The International Protection Office website.

The application procedure for international protection

The process for making an application for international protection can be found on this page of the International Protection Office website.

If, after the preliminary interview, your application for international protection is deemed admissible you will have to fill out an IPO questionnaire. You are advised to obtain legal advice before completing the questionnaire.

Personal Interview

After completing the IPO questionnaire you will be invited to a personal interview.

The personal interview is a substantive interview and is your opportunity to speak to an international protection officer from the IPO face to face to present the grounds of your application in a comprehensive manner including giving a full account of why you left your country of origin/habitual residence and why you are unable or unwilling to return there.

Your application for protection will need:

  • details of why you are applying for international protection in Ireland
  • specify the convention nexus (race, religion, nationality, political opinion, membership of a particular social group
  • the serious harm or persecution feared
  • is the actor of fear/persecution a state or non state actor?
  • was internal relocation an option?
  • credibility
  • documents personal to you

The above are some of the factors you will need to consider carefully when applying for international protection in Ireland.

Once a decision is issued you are entitled to appeal it to the International Protection Appeals Tribunal if you are unhappy. You will have 10 or 15 days from the date of notification of recommendation to make your appeal.