Concerns raised over US pre-clearance in Ireland

A group of human rights organisations have called on the government to “strongly and categorically” condemn Donald Trump's travel ban

Concerns raised over US pre-clearance in Ireland

Image: Laura Hutton / RollingNews

A group of Irish human rights organisations have released a joint statement condemning Donald Trump’s executive order blocking citizens of certain countries from entering the US.

The group has called the US Presidential order “a barely concealed attempt to discriminate on nationality and religious grounds - itself a gross violation of freely accepted international human rights obligations.”

They have called on the government to “strongly and categorically” condemn the order.

As part of President Trump’s travel ban, all travellers who have nationality or dual nationality of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen are not permitted to enter the US for a period of 90 days.

Canada has been told its dual residents will not be affected by the order and the UK Foreign Office has suggested only dual-nationals travelling directly from one of the seven blacklisted countries will be subject to extra checks.

The order also suspends the entire US Refugee Admissions Programme for 120 days and bans refuges from Syria indefinitely.

President Trump said the ban is aimed at protecting Americans from terrorism.

US pre-clearance

This morning, Ireland's Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone expressed her concern about the legality of imposing the Trump administration's “policies of discrimination” on Irish soil.

The Irish human rights groups have echoed Ms Zappone's comments and expressed their “collective concern” that the continued operation of US pre-clearance at Dublin and Shannon Airports could force gardaí and immigration officials to inadvertently breach a person's rights under the Irish constitution, European Convention on Human Rights, EU law or international human rights law.

The group has called on the government to take three steps to ensure human rights protections within Ireland:

  • Conduct an urgent review of the US pre-clearance system and take appropriate action, “up to and including suspension” of the agreement if there is a chance a person’s human rights are under threat.
  • Provide appropriate information and access to legal advice for anyone refused pre-clearance in Ireland based on the order.  
  • Clarify the role of gardaí and immigration officials in the US pre-clearance process to ensure that a person’s rights are not violated in the exercise of the official's public functions.

The Minster for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan is due to visit the US next week and will be discussing the impact of the order with his counterparts in Washington.