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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 5 Oct 2000

Vol. 523 No. 3

Written Answers. - Asylum Applications.

Proinsias De Rossa


58 Proinsias De Rossa asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of applications for asylum outstanding at the latest date for which figures are available; the average time being taken to process applications; the number of persons deported in 1999 and 2000 to date; the number of persons in respect of whom deportation orders have been made which have yet to be carried out; the number of legal challenges to decisions of his Department in regard to asylum matters which are currently before the courts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20160/00]

My Department's records indicate that the total number of asylum applicants awaiting a final determination on their asylum applications as at 31 August 2000 is 12,875. This figure takes account of all applications made up to that date.

The current processing time for processing asylum applications from initial application stage to the determination of an appeal, in cases where applicants avail of the opportunity to appeal, takes between four months, – manifestly unfounded cases – and two years. In cases where there is no appeal the processing time is between four to 15 months. If there is a further challenge to a deportation order and/or the asylum process, the period could extend to a further two years.

The aim of my Department is to minimise the time taken from the date of application to completion of the procedure in a refugee determination process which meets the highest EU and international standards and enables applications to be processed within six months. As an illustration of this commitment, I announced recently that I have obtained approval for the recruitment of 370 additional staff for, inter alia, the asylum case processing and appeals areas.

There are 32 judicial review cases in regard to asylum matters currently before the courts. These 32 cases involve 85 applicants.

A total of 688 deportation orders have been made, over 90% of which are in respect of failed asylum seekers, under the provisions of the Immigration Act, 1999, up to 4 October 2000. Six persons were deported in 1999 and a further 78 have been deported in 2000. In addition a further five persons left the State before the deportation orders could be enforced. In the remaining cases, 126 persons evaded deportation orders, 170 persons were not at their last known address for the purposes of service, 91 have been granted leave to seek judicial review by the courts, 123 persons will have to have their return negotiated with the authorities in their countries of origin and arrangements for deportation are being made in a further 61 cases. Deportation orders in respect of the remaining 28 cases are being, or have been, revoked, primarily on the advice of the Attorney General.
As I have already informed the Deputy, 91 persons who were the subject of deportation orders have been granted leave to seek judicial review by the courts. A further seven persons, whose cases had not reached the stage where a deportation order had been made but who have completed the asylum process, have also been granted leave to seek judicial review.