The migrant crisis and a reform of the international protection system led to a 140% increase in appeals against decisions to deny asylum seeker status in Ireland.
The increase in the number of appeals is revealed in the 2018 annual report of the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT). The IPAT considers appeals on behalf of those not granted refugee or subsidiary protection by the International Protection Office.
The report said applications for internal protection in Ireland have been in a steady decline from their peak of more than 11,000 in 2002, but that the 2015 migrant crisis saw applications rise from 1,448 in 2014 to 3,673 last year.
The increase is also reflected in the number of appeals considered by the IPAT. It received 2,151 appeals last year, the vast majority of which were applications against a decision to refuse international protection to the applicant.
The report shows that the number of decisions issued by the Tribunal last year represented an 80% increase on those issued in 2017. Of the 917 decisions made on appeals to recommendations relating to international protection decisions, almost 70% affirmed the original adjudication, while just over 30% saw the applicants granted either refugee status or a subsidiary protection.
The Tribunal was established following the introduction of the International Protection Act.
The legislation saw the abolition of the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner at the end of 2016, and at that time there were applications against the Commissioner’s recommendation in some 1,800 cases.
These were transferred to the International Protection Office, which subsequently considered whether these cases were entitled to a subsidiary protection.
“As a result, the Tribunal only had 454 appeals on hand at the beginning of 2017, ending that year with a caseload of 653 pending appeals,” the report read.
The Tribunal said the continuing increase in appeals will require a corresponding increase in support staff.
“It is likely that the caseload of the Tribunal will continue to rise over the coming period and it is imperative that the tribunal is equipped, both with regards to staffing numbers and the availability of Tribunal Members who are trained and experienced in the efficient delivery of high quality determinations of international protection appeals,” the report warns.