Ireland's Safe Countries of Origin list needs to be updated urgently to ease migration issues' - Barry Cowen

Published on: 01 May 2024

Barry Cowen TD, Fianna Fáil European Election Candidate in the Midlands North West, has called for the urgent expansion of Ireland’s ‘Safe Countries of Origin’ list.
Deputy Cowen insists Ireland’s list, which includes just 10 countries, must be updated immediately to fall in line with stricter EU Member States and help to ease concerns surrounding migration.
A safe country is defined as a one where, on the basis of the legal situation, there is generally no persecution, torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Speaking today, Deputy Cowen said: “Ireland needs to expand its list of safe countries amid severe and intensifying concerns over migration.
“We need to take practical measures and replicate other EU Member States. The Dutch have 18 countries on their list, Italy have 17 and France have 16. We have 10, including the recent additions of Algeria and Botswana.
“It’s up to each individual country to determine which countries should be considered safe, and Ireland’s list needs to be urgently updated, with almost 7,000 people applying for International Protection this year to date. This figure is likely to rise to 20,000 by the end of the year.
“Such measures are proven to reduce the number of people applying for asylum, with applications from eight designated safe countries dropping by 50% since the introduction of accelerated processing in November 2022.
“I am calling on Justice Minister Helen McEntee to fast-track and confirm the addition of new countries to the safe list, with eight countries currently under review.
“If those applying for asylum are from countries that are deemed safe, it would deter thousands of people who are economic migrants simply looking for the best opportunity.
“That would leave people who are actually imperiled with their life - fleeing war, famine or persecution, for example - relying on us for our support. I think the Irish people agree with offering support to those in genuine fear for their lives.”