Deportation flight returns to Dublin


A DEPORTATION flight carrying 26 failed asylum seekers was forced to return to Dublin late last night after the aircraft was refused entry into Algerian airspace.

A spokesman for the Department of Justice confirmed that of the 26 deportees on board from Ireland, 14 were Nigerian nationals, while 12 were Congolese. The deportees to the Democratic Republic of Congo were all adults, while those being deported to Nigeria consisted of eight adults and six children.

The chartered flight, organised by the EU border agency Frontex in conjunction with the Garda National Bureau of Immigration, departed Dublin airport at 8.30pm on Wednesday, and was scheduled to arrive in Lagos, Nigerian, in the early hours of yesterday.

However, the flight was forced to return to Dublin when Algerian authorities refused clearance to fly over their airspace.

The Department of Justice blamed the airline company chartered to carry out the flight for failure to gain entry into Algerian skies. “Arising from an operational error by the commercial company in question, the flight while in progress was denied entry to Algerian airspace. The flight had no option but to return to Ireland in those circumstances.”

All 26 deportees are currently being housed at the Balseskin Reception Centre for asylum seekers in Finglas, Dublin.

The spokesman said arrangements were currently being made by the Department of Justice to complete the failed deportation operation at the earliest possible opportunity.

A spokesman for An Garda Síochána said those returned “remain subject to immigration regulations in this jurisdiction”.

Until recently deportation flights carried out by Frontex from Ireland first passed over Libyan airspace en route to Nigeria.

However, since the beginning of the Libyan conflict in February, commercial airline operators have been unable to use Libyan flight paths, diverting aircraft over Algeria instead.