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The asylum sector’s explainer for huge number of Georgians coming to Ireland doesn’t hold water

The most glaring anomaly in the official statistics for people who have claimed asylum in Ireland in recent years has been the high number of people travelling to Ireland from Georgia.

In January this year, along with two other officially designated safe countries of origin, Georgians were among the top three nationalities who presented to the International Protection Office here.

The overall numbers for January of this year at 1,306, are not only over three times what they were in January 2022, but are on course to be well up on the figure for last year. This all despite the reported stricter measures being enforced with regard to illegal entrants.



Georgians accounted for over 11% of all applications in January, and 20% of the overall total in 2022. Interestingly, the only year in which Georgia did not feature among the top countries of origin was in 2020.

While the restrictions on travel that year led to lower overall numbers, the sharp fall in people travelling here claiming to be Georgian followed an interview with Leo Varadkar in the Sunday Independent of November 2019 in which he stated that people who were effectively economic migrants from Georgia and Albania were driving up numbers.

However, while 2020 may have seen a temporary crackdown on such opportunists, that stricter policy is obviously no longer in place. Varadkar himself earned a rebuke from Nick Henderson of the Irish Refugee Council who accused him of “gaslighting” Georgians – who Henderson said may have been persecuted for being gay, and who were therefore forced to use illegal documentation to travel here. As we will see, that claim previously made by an asylum seeker did not hold water.

Ireland received the sixth highest number of asylum seekers from Georgia in the world in 2021. Of the numbers who applied internationally, just 2.9% were accepted. The Irish authorities accepted just over 5% but of course as has been pointed out, the appeals process and now the amnesty mean that the majority of failed applicants, including those who have arrived here with false documents or no documents, still manage to stay in the country.

All of this is naturally a great embarrassment to both Georgians who travel here legitimately to work – of whom there were just 16 in 2022 according to the statistics on work permits     – and the Georgian government.

The claim of some Georgians to be claiming to be fleeing their country because they are gay would appear in at least some documented cases to be false. In July last year, a Georgian man who had admitted himself that his claim regarding persecution on grounds of his sexuality was a lie was still given leave by the High Court to have his case reconsidered because the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT) had not accepted his alternative tale.

His new story was that he had to leave because he was a supporter of the United National Movement party and that he had been beaten and bullied over this in 2014. Mind you, he put up with this for another five years until he “fled” in 2019 and presumably got mixed up over his reasons for coming here.

Far from being persecuted, the UNM freely contested the 2016 general elections in Georgia and received 27% of the votes. It’s candidate in the 2018 Presidential election,  Grigol Vashadze, won over 40%. It again took 27% in the general elections of 2020 and increased its number of seats by 9. The Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) stated that “fundamental freedoms” were observed during the elections in 2020.

So much for political oppression then. But what about LGBT persecution? I only refer to this again because it was mentioned at the weekend by a successful asylum lawyer who claimed that if you happen to be a “gay Georgian asylum seeker” – perhaps even an undecided one – that not only might you have to leg it from the country, but that you might have to use false documentation because you would  not be granted a visa, and furthermore that you might even have to travel with a “agent” who has supplied you with a false passport and then takes it back from you when you arrive in Dublin. Whatever.

More to the point are large numbers of Georgian men fleeing Georgia because of LGBT persecution? Unless you claim that not having gay marriage constitutes persecution, and the United Nations does not believe that it does – then then just being gay does not constitute valid grounds for seeking asylum. Bear in mind too, that the vast majority of countries do not legally permit same-sex marriage.

Georgia legally prohibits discrimination in employment and other sectors on grounds of sexuality, and since 2012 has put into force its own version of “hate” legislation whereby the victim’s sexual identity can be considered an aggravating factor in a crime. There have been surveys conducted which indicate that a large majority of Georgians remain culturally averse to the LGBT narrative.  However, it would surely be stretching credibility to believe that the majority of Georgians who claim asylum here are doing so because of that, nor that there is any reason why a majority of those Georgians who come to Ireland might not share the views of their compatriots.

The reason why the gay trope with regard to Georgia has again been referred to by several in the migrancy business of late is that the numbers from that country claiming asylum in Ireland are so absurdly high.  One can only wonder if they will apply the same rationale to explain why so many people from South Africa do likewise. Especially given the fact that the major party on the Irish liberal left, and one of the main supporters of mass immigration, Sinn Féin, makes such a thing over its friendship with the governing African National Congress.


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