The Italian authorities have decided not to allow security assessments of applicants for relocation to Ireland on Italian soil by Irish police officers. According to the Irish Department of Justice the direct consequence is the stalling of the Irish government’s commitment to receive at least 623 refugees in clear need of international protection from Italy by the end of 2017.
On 10 September 2015, the Irish government established the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) and agreed to accept approximately 4,000 persons under resettlement and relocation programmes. 2,662 asylum seekers were to be relocated from hotspots into Ireland on a gradual basis before the end of 2017 – 623 from Italy, 1,089 from Greece and the remaining 910 still to be decided.
Up until now, no asylum seekers have been relocated from Italy to Ireland because of the decision by the Italian authorities. There has been several attempts to solve the problem and the Irish Immigration Minister David Stanton remains hopeful that a solution can be found.
At the request of the Italian authorities, a meeting of Member States’ Liaison Officers in November 2016 agreed to authorise Europol to conduct exceptional additional security interviews in cases where security screening by Italian police would be deemed insufficient prior to relocation. Several Member States such as Portugal have relocated asylum seekers from Italy and Greece without conducting security interviews on their territories.
For further information:
- Irish Examiner, Italian logjam stalling refugee programme, 5 January 2017
- European Commission, Eighth report on relocation and resettlement, 8 December 2016
- AIDA, Admissibility, responsibility and safety in European asylum procedures, September 2016