6th May 2022
The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, today attended the official opening of the new Dublin Airport Garda Station.
The Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) operates from the new station, with immigration detention facilities operational at the building from 1 March 2022. This allows for up to four passengers refused leave to land to be detained for up to 24 hours within the boundary of the airport.
These facilities have been promised for several years, following critique from the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) on its previous visits to Ireland that prison is not a suitable place in which to detain someone who is neither convicted nor suspected of a criminal offence. Following its recent 2019 monitoring visit to places of detention in Ireland, the CPT called for a “specifically designed centre for immigration detainees in accordance with the Committee’s requirements” (para 26, p.18).
IPRT believes that immigration detention should only be used in exceptional circumstances, and for the minimum possible time. In cases where the authorities believe it is absolutely necessary to deprive someone of their liberty under immigration legislation, dedicated immigration facilities are far more appropriate than prisons. The introduction of this facility will go some way toward addressing the human rights concerns surrounding immigration detention in Ireland that have been flagged by international human rights experts.
Justice Plan 2022 contains a welcome commitment to review the policy of holding immigration detainees in prison in Ireland (objective 135, p.44). This is a significant step in addressing Ireland’s troublesome past of relying on prisons to detain people who are neither convicted nor suspected of a criminal offence.
Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.