The Journal.ie reports this morning that there appears to be no end in sight to Ireland’s newly declared direct provision wars:
THE GOVERNMENT IS looking at housing thousands of asylum seekers in new Direct Provision centres in the coming years.
The numbers of people arriving to seek international protection in the state has risen 50% in the past year, according to the Department of Justice, and more centres are needed to prevent further applicants being housed in emergency accommodation.
The cost of the new centres will be in excess of €320 million in the coming years, the Irish Times reported this morning.
Of note in this story is the fact that applications for asylum have risen by 50% this year. This is slightly incongruous, as the largest single reason for the surge in asylum applications over the past number of years – the Syrian war – appears, at long last, to be entering a period of substantially reduced conflict, Turkish barbarity against the Kurds notwithstanding.
As you can see from this graph, courtesy of our Lords and Masters in the European Union, asylum applications into Europe actually peaked in 2014, not coincidentally at the absolute peak of ISIS domination of Syria and Iraq. As the caliphate was slowly pushed back, asylum applications began to fall, and have continued to fall, though they are still at crisis levels across the EU as a whole.
So why is Ireland (an apparent) outlier? Why are applications for asylum rising here, even as they fall across the whole of the EU?
This second graph is very stark, for several reasons:
First, it clearly shows what a comparatively small number of overall asylum applications in Europe that Ireland receives. True, we have a smaller population, but still, even then, arguing that the country is being disproportionately swamped is difficult, and unreasonable.
Second, it shows what wild swings there are in the numbers. Look at Italy, where applications more than halved between 2017 and 2018, and Germany, where they fell significantly. In both countries, to a greater extent in Italy, there was a significant backlash against immigration at the polls, and in both countries, the Government significantly cracked down on immigration, making asylum applications tougher. And what happened? People stopped seeking asylum in those countries and started moving to countries which had not changed their rules – France, Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK, Cyprus, Denmark, and Ireland.
What this suggests is that Italian and German politicians have very successfully redistributed asylum applications away from their own countries, and towards everyone else. From an Italian point of view, this is a great success, but it also suggests that the Dublin Convention, which requires that people seek Asylum in their first country of arrival inside the EU, is being fundamentally and consciously breached.
It also brings us back to this point (emphasis mine):
The Irish authorities had the lowest rate of refusal to applications from asylum seekers of any of the EU’s 28 member states last year.
Only 15% of first-time decisions on asylum applications in Ireland were rejected, compared to an EU average of 63%.
It is hard to conclude anything other than that those countries which make it harder to be granted asylum have a fall in the number of asylum seekers, while those countries which make it relatively easy have an increase in the numbers.
Irish policy makes it comparatively easy to seek asylum here – in fact you are four times less likely to have your application denied than in a normal European country.
In these circumstances, while the absolute numbers remain comparatively low, we should expect that they will continue to increase, and that the €320m expenditure revealed today will not be anything like the last significant outlay in this area.