Explaining recent trends in international protection in Ireland


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In the first six months of 2022, 6,494 applications for international protection were lodged in Ireland. This marked a significant increase compared to recent years. While there was also an increase in applications across the EU, the increase in Ireland was proportionally larger. Ireland was among a small number of European countries that saw applications rise continuously throughout the first six months of 2022.

This ESRI report, funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth examines the potential drivers behind the increase in Ireland between January and June 2022, which follows a particularly turbulent period globally. It does so through a review of international literature, an analysis of application flows over time and the national composition of the flows as well as through interviews with key stakeholders.

The report identifies seven potential explanations for the increase in applications in the first half of 2022 in Ireland:

1. COVID-19 after-effects and suppressed migration;
2. conditions in countries of origin and first asylum;
3. UK policy changes;
4. secondary movements from other EU Member States;
5. network effects;
6. conditions in and perceptions of Ireland;
7. intervening obstacles and routes to Ireland.

Author(s):Emily Cunniffe, Keire Murphy, Emma Quinn, James Laurence, Frances McGinnity, Kayla Rush
Publisher:Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI)
Publication Date:24 Nov 2022
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