Transfer of sentence (or repatriation as it is sometimes 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.


On March 1, the Criminal Justice (Mutual Recognition of Custodial Sentences) Act 2023 was signed into law by the President.  This Act transposes (brings into Irish law) the EU Framework Decision 2008/909/JHA, which provides for transfers of sentence (also sometimes referred to as repatriation) between EU countries.  The Act also contains a number of amendments to existing legislation relating to the transfer of sentence, which will facilitate transfers to and from non-EU countries including the UK.

How to apply for repatriation

We are currently preparing factsheets with further information on the transfer process.

Transfers to and from non-EU countries are governed by the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Acts 1995 to 2023, , which ratified the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.  Over 60 states operate the Convention, including Australia, the UK, Canada and the United States as well some South and Central American countries.

If a country is not a EU Member State or 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.