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‘Weighty ground’ acceptable for delayed refugee appeals

13 Mar 2020 / Ireland Print

‘Weighty ground’ acceptable for delayed refugee appeals

Following advice on early, decisive, rapid, coordinated and comprehensive social distancing measures in response to COVID-19, the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT) has decided to postpone all hearings from today until at least 29 March.

Under normal circumstances all appeals to the International Protection Appeals Tribunal under the International Protection Act 2015, the European Union (Dublin System) Regulations 2018 and the European Communities (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018 must be made within strict time limits.

However, in each of these situations, the Tribunal has the power to extend time periods for filing appeals.


The body has said that, in the extraordinary circumstances of the current COVID-19 developments, if any appeals arrive late, the Tribunal will consider that as a weighty ground for extending the prescribed period for the submission of appeals in the event that such request is made in a Notice of Appeal received by the Tribunal.

Notification to this effect is available on the Tribunal’s website at http://www.protectionappeals.ie


Meanwhile, An Garda Síochána is putting in place a number of measures to maximise its operational availability and support other vital public services including:

  • A contingency roster will go into effect from Monday 16 March,
  • Annual leave for personnel will be restricted to no more than 5% of a Divisional/Bureau workforce at any given time with effect from today,
  • Approximately 325 Garda students in the Garda College will be attested as Garda members next week and allocated to Garda stations nationally in the coming weeks (approximately 200 from one class, and 125 from the next class),
  • Garda members working as tutors/instructors in the Garda College will be deployed to operational duties or essential training services, 
  • Training in the Garda College will be deferred until further notice expect for specialist training activity (firearms, driver, armed support),
  • In order to enhance community support, 210 additional vehicles have been hired,
  • Members of An Garda Síochána who were scheduled to avail of a severance package on 1 April 2020 have been invited to defer their retirement for three months,
  • Subject to Government approval, Garda members of all ranks who have reached the compulsory retirement age can apply to remain in employment for a further 12 months subject to terms and conditions.
  • Any Garda member who is required to retire on age ground before 1 June and wishes to remain in service can forward an application for the consideration of the Commissioner,
  • The Commissioner has designated the ongoing situation as an "exceptional event” in accordance with the Working Time Agreement,
  • Non-essential foreign travel will not be undertaken. All unnecessary large gatherings will be restricted. Only essential meetings in accordance with Government guidelines will take place with attendance limited to essential personnel only,

Co-ordination unit

Earlier this week, Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security established the Garda National Co-ordination Unit.

Headed by a Chief Superintendent, its role is to ensure a co-ordinated approach when dealing with organisational issues related to the COVID-19 virus

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