08 May 2020

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has today contacted the Minister for Equality, Immigration, and Integration David Stanton T.D. about the management of a reported COVID-19 outbreak in the Skellig Star Direct Provision centre in Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry.

It is reported that the Cahersiveen centre has experienced a serious outbreak of COVID-19 with 23 confirmed cases, and that this represents close to a quarter of the residents in the centre.  While it is understood that affected residents have been moved to isolation facilities, the situation has understandably given rise to considerable fears among the remaining residents, and among people in the local area.  The Commission is concerned that conflicting information in the public domain regarding the management of the outbreak is exacerbating these concerns and tensions.

The Commission has therefore asked the Minister to clarify the public health guidance which has been provided to residents and management of the Cahersiveen Direct Provision centre; actions taken by management to support the implementation of that guidance; and to advise what measures are being taken to protect the health and wellbeing of the residents there.  The  Commission is particularly concerned at media reports that residents who may have come into contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case are facing  restrictions on their movements outside the Centre  that are more onerous than those which apply to the population at large.

With regard to the wider management of clusters in the Direct Provision system, the Commission has also asked the Minister to advise what steps are currently being taken to manage the health and wellbeing of residents of all Direct Provision centres with confirmed outbreaks of COVID-19, including actions to reduce the density of these settings.

While actions to protect the immediate health and wellbeing of the residents must be the overriding concern at this time, the Commission has also strongly emphasised to Minister Stanton that the COVID pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for a new approach to how we provide for those seeking asylum in Ireland.  In its recent letter to party leaders, the Commission emphasised that any incoming government should commit to implementing the recommendation of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) to Ireland that it develop an alternative reception model for people seeking asylum, and should take concrete steps to phase out the Direct Provision system.

The Commission also emphasised that, looking ahead, the State must move quickly to put in place a robust independent inspection mechanism to ensure that the new national standards for accommodation offered to people in the international protection process are fully implemented.


For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,

01 8589601 / (087) 0697095

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Editor’s Note

The Commission’s letter of March 25th to An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar T.D. in recognition of the unprecedented public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic  is available at the following link:



Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission 

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.

What: Age Action has launched a COVID-19 Hardship Fund in conjunction with the Irish Red Cross to respond to the immediate needs of older people in vulnerable situations across Ireland experiencing additional hardship as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis.     

Why: Age Action and the Irish Red Cross know that some older people in vulnerable situations and at the highest risk of the corona virus will need additional supports over the coming weeks, particularly as they are now required to cocoon to protect themselves and others. This scheme is designed to provide immediate practical relief to assist in alleviating the hardships they experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

22 April 2020

We wish to thank you for your ongoing support in helping to share information about COVID-19. This is a note to let you know of a few communications updates.

Cocooning video
We have added a video explaining cocooning which can be easily shared to our video resources.

15 minutes of daily activity and fitness – running daily
In support of people cocooning at this time, RTE has launched a 15 minute programme to help older people to keep active at home. It will be broadcast daily on RTÉ One at 2.20pm. It will help viewers who are at home and some in self-isolation or cocooning and will offer tips, especially to older viewers, on how to keep healthy and happy.  Fitness 15 will be hosted Monday to Friday at 2.20 PM on with Ray Lally, the Today Show fitness expert, and Dáithí Ó Sé.

Resources for people with dementia, their families and carers
Online resources for people dementia, their families and carers and a booklet of activities which can be carried out at home have also been added.

Irish sign language videos
Irish Sign Language videos are available online here . There are five videos, each covering a different section of the COVID-19 information booklet.

Mental Wellbeing Campaign
Also, a reminder about the Mental Wellbeing campaign recently launched. The campaign offers support and resources for people to help deal with the stress, isolation and helps people maintain wellbeing and cope at home during this time. The campaign is running on all National and Local radio channels, as well as across social and digital platforms. The website is www.gov.ie/together and the hashtag is #Together. We welcome your support on this and branding is available to all stakeholders creating messages in this space. The link to the radio ads is here: https://soundcloud.com/user-992575667/sets/getting-through-covid-19-together


14 April 2020

In light of the extraordinary circumstances of the current COVID-19 developments and announcements made by the Taoiseach, the International Protection Office wishes to advise that the following arrangements will apply:-

  • until further notice the opening hours for Reception at the International Protection Office premises at Timberlay House, 79-83 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2 will be from 11am to 2pm Monday to Friday.
  • all substantive interviews scheduled up to and including 1 May 2020 have been cancelled. We will be in contact in due course with new interview dates.
  • Temporary Residence Certificate (TRC) Renewal Appointments and call-backs are being suspended up to and including 1 May. Applicants whose TRC is due for renewal between 27 March and 1 May will have a new card automatically issued to them to cover them for the period.

Applicants who are impacted by these arrangements are requested not to visit the International Protection Office until further notice.

In addition the International Protection Office will provide a limited service to new applicants only until further notice.

These measures are considered necessary to help limit the spread of COVID- 19 and support the national measures, including requirements on social distancing, announced by the Taoiseach over recent weeks.

Further updates will be provided in due course.

Click here to download...

This information is available on inisgov.ie please check regularly for updates

Notice 1 | COVID-19 VISA Arrangements

21 March 2020

As part of the combined efforts to tackle COVID-19 and to ensure customer safety, we have taken the decision to temporarily cease accepting new visa applications. This is effective from close of business 20th of March 2020. Increasing travel restrictions and the measures introduced as part of the Government’s efforts to interrupt the transmission of COVID-19 means that travel may not be possible and even if possible is not advisable unless essential. The situation will continue to be reviewed in consultation with the relevant authorities in the coming days.

While it will still be possible to apply for an Irish visa online in the normal manner, these temporary measures mean that applicants will not be able to complete their application process and we apologise for any inconvenience this might cause. Please note that any application made online will remain valid until such time as restrictions are lifted.

We intend to resume accepting applications as soon as safety concerns abate. Certain Priority/Emergency cases will continue to be processed and these include the following:

  • Emergency visa (e.g. Healthcare professionals, health researchers, and elderly care professionals);
  • Immediate family members of Irish citizens;
  • Persons legally resident in the State;
  • Persons entitled to avail of the provision of the EU Free Movement Directive.

If your application falls into one of these categories, you can apply on-line in the usual way. Once you’ve completed the on-line application, you should follow the instructions given on the summary page as to where you should submit your application.


Notice 2 | New COVID-19 measures for Immigration and International Protection permissions to reside in the State that are due to expire between 20/3/2020 and 20/5/2020

20 March 2020

This notice applies to Immigration and International Protection permissions to reside in the State that are due to expire between 20/3/2020 and 20/5/2020.

In light of the uncertainties caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, the following Notice applies to all persons with a current valid permission due to expire from 20/3/2020 to 20/5/2020, whether pursuant to domestic law or powers of the Minister, or Directive 2004/38/EC (Free Movement Directive).

All such permissions that are due to expire from 20/3/2020 to 20/5/2020 are automatically renewed by the Minister for a period of 2 months. The renewal of permission is on the same basis as the existing permission and the same conditions attach. In relation to persons with existing permission under Directive 2004/38/EC (Free Movement Directive), the automatic renewal is subject to the requirement that the person is complying with the requirements of the Directive.

The Dublin area Registration Office located in Burgh Quay is temporarily closed from 20 March 2020.

Please also note that all Registration Offices for non-Dublin residents operated by An Garda Síochána have also temporarily closed.

If you have any questions, please consult the Frequently Asked Questions document.


Notice 3 | Updated COVID-19 measures for customers of the Department of Justice and Equality's Immigration Service Delivery Function

13 March 2020

Further to the Government announcement on updated measures to respond to COVID-19, the Immigration Service Delivery Function of the Department has issued the following advice to its customers:

  • Where an English language school has closed due to Government advice regarding Covid-19, all international students will be considered to have met their attendance requirement for the shutdown period. All other rules will remain in place and students will be required to renew their registrations as usual;
  • Applicants for international protection should continue to report as normal to the International Protection Office in Mount Street where initial processing will take place.  This will enable follow on services to be provided;
  • Alternative arrangements are being put in place for renewal of Temporary Residence Cards for international protection applicants which means they will not be required to present in person until further notice;
  • Interviews of international protection applicants has been suspended until further notice at the International Protection Office;
  • Similarly, Tribunal Hearings at the International Protection Appeals Tribunal have been suspended until further notice;
  • Appropriate contingency arrangements are in place for persons residing in the Direct Provision system and in emergency accommodation;
  • The normal service of immigration control at Dublin Airport continues with appropriate measures to protect staff in place.

Further updates will issue as required.

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Rethink Ireland
Departemt of Justice and Equality
Government of Ireland
Government of Ireland
European Union AMIF
Departemt of Justice and Equality
The Dormant Accounts Fund
Clare County Council
This project is co-financed by the European Commission under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund 2014 - 2020 and is supported by the Department of Justice and Equality.

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