Ireland is bottom of the European league table when it comes to offering asylum to refugees – including those from war torn Syria – according to a new report.
Eurostat, the official European Union statistics agency, has released new findings which reflect poorly on Ireland’s treatment of asylum seekers and refugees.
The latest Eurostat figures show Ireland comes last when it comes to granting refugee status to asylum seekers, below even Malta which has a population of just over 500,000, according to a report in the Irish Independent.
The Eurostat analysis says that Ireland opened its doors to just 40 Syrian refugees last year from a total of 205 people who were granted asylum by the Dublin government.
The Netherlands, with a population three times that of Ireland, accepted 10,620 refugees last year while Denmark, with a population similar to that of Ireland, accepted 3,360 refugees. Even Malta accepted 1,610 refugees in 2013.
Eurostat says Ireland ranks alongside Lithuania, Estonia, Slovenia, Slovakia and Croatia in the new findings.
The Syrian crisis saw a rise in Syrians seeking asylum in the EU from 116,200 in 2012 to 135,700 in 2013.
The report adds that Syrians accounted for one-quarter of all refugees granted asylum in Europe last year.
The Eurostat report says: “The three largest groups of beneficiaries of protection status in the EU28 in 2013 remained citizens of Syria (35,800 persons or 26 percent of the total number of persons granted protection status), Afghanistan (16,400 or 12 percent) and Somalia (9,700 or 7 percent).
“Of the 35,800 Syrians granted protection status in the EU28, more than 60 percent were recorded in two member states: Sweden (12,000) and Germany (9,600).
“Of the 16,400 Afghans granted protection, more than three-quarters were registered in Germany (5,000), Austria and Sweden (both 2,300), Italy (1,600) and Belgium (1,500).
“Of the 9,700 Somalis, some 2,800 were granted protection status in the Netherlands, 1,700 in Sweden and 1,600 in Italy.
“In 2013, the highest number of persons granted protection status was registered in Sweden (26,400), followed by Germany (26,100), France (16,200), Italy (14,500) and the United Kingdom (13,400).
“All together, these five member states accounted for more than 70pc of all those granted protection status in the EU28.”
The Eurostat report adds: “In total, of the 135,700 persons who were granted protection status in 2013, 64,500 persons were granted refugee status (47 percent of all positive decisions), 50,900 subsidiary protection (37 percent) and 20,400 authorization to stay for humanitarian reasons (15 percent).”
Eurostat’s report also reveals that 40 percent of people seeking asylum in the EU last year were granted ‘first instance’ acceptance.
Ireland allowed only 150 out of 840 applicants asylum status while 55 others received interim permission to remain in the state.
The figures put the country at the bottom of the league along with the Baltic and some south-eastern European states.
The report adds that the highest rates of recognition for first instance decisions were recorded in Bulgaria (87 percent), Malta (84 percent), Romania (64 percent) and Italy and the Netherlands (both 61 percent).
The Irish Independent reports that it has been Irish government policy here for almost a decade to oppose almost all asylum applications.
This has led to a drop from around 10,000 at the height of the economic boom to only a few hundred a year.