The number of people seeking asylum in Ireland last year fell by almost a third.
Figures provided by the EU show 2,235 non-Irish nationals applied for asylum here in 2016 — down 1,035 cases or 32% on the previous year.
At 473 applicants per million inhabitants, Ireland has one of the smaller ratios of asylum seekers to population — just one fifth of the EU average of 2,360. Overall Ireland took just 0.2% of all asylum seekers in the EU last year. The Republic’s population accounts for 0.9% of all EU citizens.
The latest figures show Syria replaced Pakistan as the main source of refugees arriving here last year.
The authorities recorded asylum applications from 245 people from the war-torn, Middle Eastern state — 11% of all refugees. Pakistan was the country of origin with the second highest number asylum seekers arriving in Ireland last year at 235 followed by Albanians at 220.
Overall, just over 1.2m refugees crossed EU borders last year seeking asylum with large increases in the numbers applying in Germany, Italy, and Greece.
A total of 1,204,300 first-time asylum seekers applied for international protection in one of the 28 EU states during 2016.
EU authorities recorded 334,800 Syrian asylum seekers — 28% of all refugees to the EU.
Germany was the main destination for a majority of refugees — it had applications for asylum from 60% of new arrivals to the EU.
Italy accounted for another 10% of all asylum seekers followed by France at 6% and Greece at 4%. Britain was the destination for 3% of all asylum seekers to the EU.
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