State is failing to enforce its own immigration rules - Michael McNamara TD

Ireland is not enforcing its own immigration rules, regardless of what the Taoiseach may say - Michael McNamara.

10.01 22 Jan 2024

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State is failing to enforce it...

State is failing to enforce its own immigration rules - Michael McNamara TD


10.01 22 Jan 2024

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The State’s ‘abject failure’ to enforce immigration rules is causing chaos in Ireland’s asylum seeker system, according to a Claire TD.

On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Michael McNamara said thousands of people have arrived at Irish airports without valid travel documentation – but nobody has been prosecuted as a result.

Meanwhile, he said the State is not processing asylum claims fast enough, meaning applicants spend far longer in the system than necessary, during which time they are entitled to State accommodation.


Writing in the Sunday Independent yesterday, Mr McNamara said Ireland needs immigration to prosper and has an obligation to offer protection to those fleeing conflict and persecution.

He warned, however, that for the system to work it must be based on rules – and insisted Ireland is currently not enforcing its own rules, regardless of what the Taoiseach may say.

He noted that landing at an Irish airport without valid travel documents is an offence carrying a sentence of up to 12 months in prison.

More than 8,000 people arrived at Dublin Airport without valid identification in 2022 and 2023 – and Deputy McNamara said none were prosecuted in that time.


“Now, obviously people fleeing and seeking asylum are not going to hang around to apply for a passport,” he said.

“So, I mean, I'm not talking about people who arrive in a container, in the back of a lorry or something like that; I’m talking about people who specifically arrive at an airport - because you can't get on the plane without valid documentation at the other side.

“I mean, we all know anybody who's gotten a plane to Ireland knows that your identity documentation is checked in the country that you're coming from and we have, thousands of people - we had over 4000 in 2022 and slightly less than that in 2023 - arriving without any documentation whatsoever.

“That's an offence in Ireland; it is not being prosecuted.

“As I say I am not talking about people arriving in the back of a lorry. I am talking about people who got on with identification but they don’t have the identification when they arrive.”


He said another major issue with the system is the length of time it takes to process applications.

“People who are seeking asylum have an entitlement to accommodation while they're seeking asylum,” he said.

“Once their claim is processed, they don't have a right to accommodation, or they have the same right as everybody else in Ireland.

“That’s if they're successful, if they're unsuccessful, they have no right to be here at all.”

He said the difficulty is that “decisions are not coming back” – which leaves people waiting “not weeks, not months, but over a year” for a decision.

“That length of time is getting longer, so there's more people going into the system, and nobody's coming out of it,” he said.

“There are more and more people going into the system, people aren't coming out of the system and everybody who's in the system has a right to accommodation – so that's a very big problem.”


The Clare TD said the inefficiency in the system is particularly problematic given the housing crisis.

“Everybody who is in the system has a right to accommodation,” he said.

“After they've been through the system, whether they're successful or unsuccessful, they don't have a right to accommodation.

“Accommodation is in short supply in Ireland at the moment; one would have thought that people should be dealt with quickly.”

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