ESRI Research Series

Detention and alternatives to detention in international protection and return procedures in Ireland

This report has been peer reviewed prior to publication. The authors are solely responsible for the content and the views expressed.

November 24, 2021
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Detention and alternatives to detention can be used for immigration-related purposes in Ireland. Detention takes place in Garda Síochána stations and prisons. Throughout 2019, 477 people were detained in Irish prisons for immigration-related reasons, reducing to 245 people in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Alternatives to detention, such as regularly reporting to a Garda station, however, tend to be used more routinely and in the first instance.
This study presents a comprehensive review of legislation and practice on detention and alternatives to detention in international protection and return
procedures in Ireland. It is based on the Irish contribution to a European Migration Network (EMN) report comparing the situation in EU Member States. Immigration detention in the EU and the UK has been the subject of considerable academic research; however, there has been comparatively less research on the situation in Ireland, particularly regarding alternatives to detention.

Emily Cunniffe

Publication Details


ESRI and EMN Ireland

Place of Publication


Date of Publication

November 24, 2021

ESRI Series

ESRI Research Series 128


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This Open Access work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited.