Brian Hayes MEP

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Ireland lagging behind other EU states in asylum decisions – Hayes

Crises in the Mediterranean must provoke new thinking and new pan European response to asylum issues in Europe.

Speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Dublin MEP, Brian Hayes said new information from the EU highlights that we in Ireland need to do more in offering refuge to those seeking asylum. Part of that must be to look again at a binding quota system in light of the disaster in the Mediterranean.

“Europe has to do more than just help the Italian government secure its border. We require a concrete response. Asylum seekers are not a matter for only some countries. They are a challenge to all European countries including Ireland. In the last 10 years Ireland has granted asylum to only 2,723 people.

“According to Eurostat, in 2014 over 630,000 asylum applications were made across Europe. In Ireland 62% of asylum applications were refused. This is in sharp contrast to Denmark’s 32% and the Netherland’s 30%. The average across the EU is 55%. The truth is that if you seek asylum in Ireland you have a 2:1 chance of being turned down. For a wealthy country like Ireland which has taken relatively few asylum seekers by comparison to other similar sized countries this is not good enough. Clearly more needs to be done.”

“There cannot be an open border policy. However, having an EU binding commitment to take a number of asylum seekers each year and having that number spread fairly across the EU is the least we should do given the crisis in the Middle East and North Africa.”

“The EU needs to work together to accommodate asylum seekers in the best way possible. President Higgins was right this week when he used the word “monstrous” to describe the idea that boats carrying migrants should be destroyed. The people fleeing their war torn countries have no choice but to take the risk of sailing across the Mediterranean. Clearly, the best solution is to address the ‘push’ factor forcing asylum seekers from their home countries. However, until this can be done we should all play our part. Putting it frankly Ireland needs to do more.” concluded Mr Hayes.


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