Ireland looking to send asylum seekers back to UK: Report

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says it’s evidence that his plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is acting as a deterrent.

Ireland's Minister for Justice Helen McEntee speaking
Irish Minister for Justice Helen McEntee is scheduled to meet British Home Secretary James Cleverly in London on Monday [File: Peter Nicholls/Reuters]

The Republic of Ireland is looking to amend the law to allow the return of asylum seekers to the United Kingdom, according to broadcaster RTE, after an influx over the border with Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK.

Dublin’s Minister of Justice Helen McEntee, who will visit London on Monday, told a parliamentary committee this week that she estimates 80 percent of those applying for asylum in the republic came over the land border with Northern Ireland.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told Sky News it was evidence that London’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is acting as a deterrent.

“What it shows, I think, is that the deterrent is … already having an impact because people are worried about coming here,” he said.

In response, a spokesperson for Ireland’s Prime Minister Simon Harris said the leader “does not comment on the migration policies of any other country but he is very clear about the importance of protecting the integrity of the migration system in Ireland”, RTE reported.

“Ireland has a rules-based system that must always be applied firmly and fairly,” Harris also said.

The spokesperson added that the Irish PM had asked his justice minister “to bring proposals to cabinet next week to amend existing law regarding the designation of safe ‘third countries’ and allowing the return of inadmissible International Protection applicants to the UK”.


McEntee is expected to discuss a new returns policy when she meets British Home Secretary James Cleverly in London on Monday.

“That’s why I’m introducing fast processing, that’s why I’ll have emergency legislation at cabinet this week to make sure that we can effectively return people to the UK and that’s why I’ll be meeting with the home secretary to raise these issues on Monday,” she told RTE.

Ireland had previously designated the UK a “safe third country” to return asylum seekers to, but last month the Irish high court ruled that this breached European Union law, stopping the process.

The UK’s Rwanda bill cleared its final parliamentary hurdle last Monday after a marathon tussle between the upper and lower chambers of parliament.

Sunak hopes the bill will prevent asylum seekers from trying to enter the UK on small boats over the English Channel from northern Europe.

Source: News Agencies