Protecting People of Concern
Karen refugees who were resettled in Ireland during 2011 © UNHCR/P.Behan
UNHCR has had a continuous presence in Ireland since 1998. The office in Ireland was established as a liaison office to provide support to the Irish authorities in establishing procedures to provide access for people seeking refuge and protection, to a fair and efficient asylum process. The office in Ireland became a branch office in 2002.
Ireland acceded to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol in 1956 and 1968 respectively and has cooperated extensively with UNHCR especially since the mid-1990s when Ireland experienced an increase in asylum applications. UNHCR's supervisory role in relation to compliance with the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees is recognised in national legislation (The Refugee Act, 1996, as ammended).
The Office in Ireland has four full time staff and two interns. The internships last for six months at a time and the Office is very grateful to the many interns who have greatly supported the Office’s work in Ireland over the years.
UNHCR’s work in Ireland is divided into two units, protection and external relations.
For more information on the work UNHCR in Ireland does to protect people of concern, please click here.
Fostering Integration in Ireland
Former Republic of Ireland football manager, Brian Kerr, presenting the winner's trophy to KASI at the Fair Play Football Cup 2013 © UNHCR
The integration of refugees and other people of concern to UNHCR within Irish society is an important element of UNHCR’s work in Ireland. We work with the authorities and civil society in Ireland to support efforts, discuss problems and identify solutions for the integration of refugees, asylum seekers and stateless people. Our hope is that through joint efforts with the authorities, civil society and all persons of concern, we can ensure people have the opportunity to achieve their full potential, contribute actively to their community, live without discrimination or exploitation and pursue sustainable livelihoods.
For more information on the work UNHCR in Ireland does to foster the integration of people of concern, please click here.
Photo from the 60 Years - Stories of Survival and Safe Haven exhibition © UNHCR
Many people who come to Ireland seeking protection enter the asylum process when they arrive in Ireland. If their fear of persecution is considered to be well-founded by the Irish asylum authorities, they are granted refugee status.
Others who come to Ireland seeking protection may have been recognised as refugees elsewhere before being resettled in Ireland. Such ‘programme’ or ‘resettled’ refugees are part of the global resettlement programme which provides a durable solution for those refugees whose original country of asylum is unable or unwilling to provide a permanent solution for them. Such countries of refuge are very often those states neighbouring those of the refugee’s home country, and they may lack the necessary infrastructure or legal framework to provide a home for those refugees.
For more about resettlement in Ireland, please click here.
Highlighting issues of concern to UNHCR and raising awareness of our ongoing work within Ireland and beyond is an essential element of our work in Ireland. Maintaining a high public profile and an interactive dialogue is also key for an organization like UNHCR, which works much more effectively with the positive support and interest of the public. It is a cornerstone of UNHCR’s overall approach to conduct our activities in the context of public engagement, media outreach, and educational support. This covers a wide array of different activities including public events, social networking, media relations, Parliamentary outreach, exhibitions, educational resources, presentations and much more.
For more information about our awareness raising activities, please click here.
The Asylum Process in Ireland
Minister Eamon Gilmore with UN High Comissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres © UNHCR
Ireland acceded to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol in 1956 and 1968 respectively. The Irish Government and UNHCR have worked in close cooperation especially since the mid-1990s when Ireland experienced an increase in asylum applications. The outcome has been the adoption of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended).
UNHCR Ireland monitors all relevant policy closely, providing comments and suggesting amendments if and when necessary. We are also supporting the efforts of the asylum authorities to prepare for changes in the Irish asylum system, including the provision of training for the forthcoming single protection procedure.
For more information about the Asylum Process in Ireland please click here