The flow of displaced persons into Ireland has been much lower than in many EU Member States. Despite its peripheral geographical location, Ireland did experience an increase in asylum applications in the years that correspond with the EU refugee and migrant crisis: after a sustained period of decreasing asylum applications, 2014 saw a 53 per cent increase over the previous year (1,448 applications were made in 2014 compared to 946 in 2013). During 2015, applications increased again by 126 per cent, to reach 3,276 before declining to 2,244 in 2016.
This study looks at Ireland’s response to recent trends in international protection applications during the period 2014–2016. In Ireland, like in many other Member States, a number of operational, legislative and policy changes were introduced in those years specifically to address or manage fluctuations in the number of asylum applications, or to better control migration flows. Such policies and practices responded both to the wider EU refugee and migrant crisis, which had limited direct impact on Ireland but which changed the policy context, as well as to national increases and decreases in asylum applications.