Deportations and asylum seekers

 

Sir, – I refer to an article about deportation orders and the asylum process and am keen to clarify a number of issues (News, August 28th).

An asylum seeker is a person who comes to Ireland seeking international protection status (refugee status or subsidiary protection status) under international law on grounds that they fear persecution in their own country for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion or where they would face a real risk of suffering serious harm if returned to their country of origin.

The International Protection Act 2015 streamlines the application process so that a person’s applications for asylum, for subsidiary protection and for permission to remain in Ireland are all examined at the same time. One of the key objectives of the 2015 Act was to speed up the processing of cases to reduce the time people spent in the process and to provide more certainty and a more accessible process to applicants.

During the application process asylum seekers are offered (and may accept) accommodation and ancillary services from the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of the Department of Justice and Equality. Applicants are provided with full board accommodation free of utility or other cost. Under this system, RIA seeks to ensure that the material needs of residents, in the period during which their applications for international protection are being processed, are met.

At the end of the application process, during which all aspects of the applicant’s case, including full consideration of article 8 (family) rights, is considered in detail, a decision is made and the applicant is either granted international protection status and permission to remain in Ireland or is informed that they do not qualify and must leave the State.

It should be noted that applicants have access to a lawyer and the right to appeal a decision. First-instance decisions can be appealed to the International Protection Appeals Tribunal, an independent body established in law. Decisions can be further appealed to the High Court. It is only after the end of these extensive processes that a deportation order is issued and this requires the person concerned to remove themselves from the State. Assistance is available from the State and through the International Organisation for Migration if required.

The reference in the article to increased deportation orders effected during the month of August is inaccurate. In August 2018, to date, there have been 17 deportations effected, compared to 15 in July, 20 in June, 13 in May and 19 in April 2018.

Ireland has become the vibrant, rich and diverse society it is today because of those who come here from around the world.

For the small number of people who are found not to have an entitlement to stay, it is only fair, including on those who have come here in compliance with the law, that they be asked to return after exhausting all due process. – Yours, etc,

ANDREW PAYNE,

Press Officer,

Department of Justice

and Equality,

St Stephen’s Green,

Dublin 2.