IPRT opposes immigration detention as a matter of principle. In particular, people seeking asylum in Ireland should not be detained in prisons. International standards in this area, while giving the State a wide margin in relation to devising immigration policies, are quite clear on the fact that immigration detention should only be used in exceptional circumstances, and for the minimum possible time.
IPRT considers that holding immigration detainees in prisons in Ireland is wholly unacceptable. Such practice has been condemned in the past by the European Committee on the Prevention of Torture (CPT), which stated that on a number of occasions the Committee’s delegations have found immigration detainees held in prisons. The CPT went on to say that:
"Even if the actual conditions of detention for these persons in the establishment concerned are adequate – which has not always been the case – the CPT considers such an approach to be fundamentally flawed. A prison is by definition not a suitable place in which to detain someone who is neither convicted nor suspected of a criminal offence."
Indeed, in its most recent report on a visit to Ireland (2007), the CPT reiterated that point and added that:
"In those cases where it is deemed necessary to deprive persons of their liberty for an extended period under aliens legislation, they should be accommodated in centres specifically designed for that purpose, offering material conditions and a regime appropriate to their legal situation and staffed by suitably qualified personnel."
IPRT is committed to working towards the elimination of immigration detention in Ireland, and in particular to working for an end to the practice of holding immigration detainees in prisons.