Refusals of leave to land are alarming, says Irish Refugee Council

Posted On: 21 January 2016

MEDIA RELEASE, 21 January 2016

On the 15th December 2015 the Minister for Justice Francis Fitzgerald, in answer to parliamentary questions, stated numbers of certain nationalities refused permission to land at approved ports of entry in 2015 were as follows:  Afghan 139; Eritrean 11, Iranian 44 and Syrian 59. The Minister said that persons who are refused leave to land and are subsequently removed from the State are returned to their point of embarkation, which in most cases is within the EU.

Sue Conlan, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, expressed concern at the statistics. “It is unfortunate that the State refuses leave to land to nationals of these countries during the greatest refugee crisis since World War II,” said Ms Conlan. “According the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, 75% of Syrians and Eritreans require international protection, which suggests that the State potentially turned away some fifty refugees from its borders last year.  Nationals of Afghanistan and Iran are also likely to be fleeing persecution.  We regret that they were refused leave to land and not admitted to the State to have their protection needs assessed.”

The Irish Refugee Council is also concerned about the mechanisms used to refuse leave to land. “People are refused leave to land in closed rooms in airports,” said Ms Conlan. “They are refused leave to land in circumstances where they have no access to lawyers or legal information, no clarity around their rights. An estimated 3000 people were refused leave to land in Ireland last year, about the same number who applied for asylum. The Irish Refugee Council spoke with a very small number of those.  What we heard concerns us. We call on the Minister to release the full details of refusals of leave to land not only of these nationalities but of all nationalities and to provide greater clarity around the process.”

The Irish Refugee Council believes that everybody with protection needs should be admitted to the State to have their claims for asylum considered or for a proper determination regarding the state responsible for their claim. This is a matter of international and EU law.



Contact:  Caroline Reid 085 858 5510


PGs and Minister’s answers of 15th December 2015