False refugee claims are an “ongoing challenge”, Tánaiste Micheál Martin has said.
Today Newstalk revealed that 5,074 people arrived in Ireland in the first 11 months of 2022 and applied for asylum with “false or no documentation” - roughly 40% of the total.
The issue was raised in Dáil Éireann by Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín who described the current system as an “absolute disaster”.
“The cost of providing accommodation for those who provide “false or no documentation” on their arrival is €141m,” Deputy Tóibín said.
“It took two years to process 5,000 asylum applications; it took three years to process 1,000 asylum applications; indeed, the longest wait for processing was over 14 years.
“Most Irish people really want to do the right thing for people who are fleeing from war, violence and famine.
“But most people do not want this system abused, considering the enormous pressure on the system and that so many Irish people and asylum applicants are sleeping on the streets.
“Would you agree, Minister, that your asylum process is an absolute disaster?”
In response, Tánaiste Micheál Martin said:
“The Deputy says ‘abused’ but on the documentation issue, basically people come and seek asylum, and under the Geneva Convention and various international conventions we are obliged to consider the application for asylum.
“Additional resources have been made available to the Department of Justice, in particular, to expedite and accelerate the application process and to get results and outcomes more quickly.
“We are also looking at stronger controls in respect of abuse issues and are constantly on the lookout. Our officials and teams are constantly on the lookout for any potentially fraudulent [paperwork].
“In any event, on the broader issue, controls have been stepped up over the last year and a half.
“We took action in terms of the convention in respect of refugees travelling across Europe because that was being abused in some instances and we dealt with that.
“It is an ongoing challenge.”
The charity Tiglinn says that an average of 310 International Protection applicants are arriving into Ireland each week and that services for the homeless are “bursting at the seams”.
Main image: Micheál Martin in the Dáil. Image via Oireachtas TV