Transfer of sentence (or repatriation as it is commonly referred to) is an important issue for many ICPO clients who wish to serve their sentence close to their families and in the country they are usually resident in. Maintaining family ties during a period of imprisonment is essential to ensure effective reintegration and rehabilitation. Transfer to an Irish prison also provides people with an opportunity to adequately prepare for their release, allowing them to access essential supports and services in Ireland.


Since 2018 all existing applications, which had been on hold between 2016-2018, have now been ‘reactivated’ and are being processed. Changes are still required to Irish legislation in order for certain categories of prisoners to be successfully transferred. Please see our factsheet for further information.

How to apply for repatriation

The process is lengthy and prior to applications being placed on hold between 2016-2018, it was taking up to two years to receive a decision on an application for repatriation. To find out more about eligibility and the application process please read our factsheet.

Transfers to Ireland are governed by the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Acts, which ratified the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. Over 60 states operate the convention, including some South and Central American countries. If a country is not a signatory to the Convention a transfer will require a bilateral agreement between the two states.

The Minister for Justice and Equality produces an annual report on the operation of the transfer scheme which shows the number of prisoners transferred in and out of Ireland each year.

The ICPO monitors repatriation applications with the Department of Justice and Equality on behalf of clients and is grateful to the Department of Justice for its assistance in this regard.