Fewer than 100 deportations of those refused refugee status since start of 2023 – McEntee

Minister for Justice said timeframe for deportation had been improving, despite elongated appeals process

Fewer than 100 of the 7,300 people refused refugee status since the beginning of 2023 have been deported, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has said.

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s News at One, Ms McEntee said that level of deportations was a higher proportion than the rest of Europe.

“We have really improved our time frames over the last number of years. You could have had people in the system for six or seven or eight years. We’re now down to probably, the maximum around two years for many of the ordinary decisions.

“For those who are in accelerated procedures, their first decisions are within about 60 days. But we still have elongated appeals processes,” she said.


Ms McEntee on Tuesday told the Oireachtas justice committee that more than 80 per cent of migrants are now arriving in the State via Northern Ireland, according to her estimates.

She said there is a returns agreement to send those back to the UK who have refugee status there, although that has been impeded by a recent High Court judgment which she is bringing forward legislation to remedy.

The Minister pointed out that since the “safe countries” system was introduced last year, about 80 per cent of appeals received negative decisions.

“What we’re going to start to see now, particularly with the faster processing, is that it will be much easier to remove people, but also they’ll be removed much more quickly.

“So you have to remember that we are completely overhauling the system that has for years taken years to actually even get to a deportation. So we’re trying to shorten that.”

The Government this month opted in to an EU-wide migration pact, a wide-ranging deal which would introduce some standard practices across European states.

The pact envisions speedier decisions on migrants who arrive in any EU state, with a first decision made within three months. It would also include a solidarity mechanism by which Ireland may be obliged to accommodate a proportion of those applicants arriving in countries experiencing greater inflows, or to pay a cash sum toward the processing of such cases in situ.

When asked about the number of appeals from people who had been refused refugee status, Ms McEntee said she did not have any appeals before her at present.

“I have not signed off on any appeals or refused or rejected any in the last year at least. I know we have a lengthy process. And this is why the pact is so important here.

“This is why it’s important for people to understand what we would be bound by are changes that would reduce the time frame.”

Vivienne Clarke

Vivienne Clarke is a reporter