The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr. Alan Shatter, T.D, announced today that his Department will accept the Olympic accreditation document issued by the London Olympics Organising Committee (LOCOG) to competitors, coaches, officials and media representatives in lieu of an Irish visa.

The waiver applies to visits to or transit through Ireland for the period leading up to and during the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London this summer.

This initiative further supports the Minister’s objective to restructure the immigration system to encourage and facilitate business and tourism activity. Other such measures include the Irish Short-stay Visa Waiver Programme which has been extended for a further period of four years and the new immigration programmes for investors and entrepreneurs which were formally launched yesterday. 

The Minister stated that he had received a request from the UK Immigration Minister, Mr. Damian Green to consider granting this facility when they met in Dublin late last year.  "I am delighted to announce this initiative which is designed to facilitate competitors and their teams getting to and from the Games", the Minister said.

Minster Shatter added, "It is the Government’s objective that the opportunity of the London Olympics be used to encourage teams and other persons attending the Games to visit Ireland. This measure supports that aim."

The waiver period will commence on 30 March 2012 and conclude on 8 November 2012. There are certain conditions attaching to the arrangement including that arrival in the State will only be permitted at Dublin and Shannon Airports and that the permission to stay in Ireland will be no more than 90 days. 

The details of the proposal were agreed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of the Department of Justice and Equality and the Garda National Immigration Bureau in consultations with LOCOG and the UK Border Agency. 

14 March 2012