Ireland To Halt Visa-Free Travel For Refugees in Safe European Countries

A sticker 'Refugees Welcome' seen on a fence in Dublin center during Level 5 Covid-19 lockdown. On Wednesday, February 24, 2021, in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Irish government has suspended visa-free travel for refugees from safe European countries for the next 12 months but has made exemptions for Ukrainian refugees.

The Irish government announced the policy change, which will require refugees in safe European countries to apply for a visa before travelling to Ireland, this week, arguing the move was meant to “protect the integrity of immigration and International Protection systems.”

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney made the proposal as, according to the Irish government, the country has seen an influx of people applying for asylum who have already been granted refugee status in other countries.

From January 1st 2021 to January 1st of this year, the Irish government stated that it received 760 notifications of individuals who were applying for asylum that had already been granted asylum elsewhere from the Eurodac database, which collects fingerprints of illegal migrants and those who apply for asylum. Around 63 power cent of the notification were migrants who were visa-exempt.

“In recent months, we have seen that the visa exemption provided for in the Council of Europe Agreement is being exploited, including by some who enter the State and subsequently claim international protection, despite having already been granted such protection by another European state,” Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney, meanwhile, reiterated Ireland’s commitment to helping Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion of their country saying, “The decision taken today will assist in the protection of Ukrainians, and those of other nationalities, who are fleeing conflict, as it will lessen the incidence of abuse of this system.”

The surge of asylum seekers has already seen the country announce last week that it had run out of accommodation for migrants, despite earlier this year promising to take in limitless refugees from Ukraine and Minister McEntee promising amnesty for illegals.

Irish Freedom Party president Hermann Kelly told Breitbart News, “Ireland is full and we cannot house the world,” and added, “The government’s ill-conceived plan has run out of road and Ireland has run out of housing.”

“With 10,000 Irish people homeless the government has already flooded the state with 40,000 people claiming to be refugees from Ukraine,” he said.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.