Wednesday, 28 January 2004

Questions (185)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh


304 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the implications of the High Court finding that section 2.1 of the Immigration Act 1999 is unconstitutional. [2439/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

It is not for me, as Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, to state what are the legal implications of the High Court finding referred to in the Deputy's question.

The practical consequences of the judgment go to the heart of the immigration control function as exercised in the State in respect of non-EEA nationals. From Friday next, when the High Court is due to actually grant the declarations which it signalled in its judgment on 22 January, every aspect of the operation of immigration controls addressed by the Aliens Order 1946, to which section 2 of the Immigration Act 1999 gave effect as if the order had been an Act of the Oireachtas, will either be without a statutory basis or will be so open to challenge as to render those controls ineffective. The matters covered by the Aliens Order include the appointment of immigration officers; immigration controls on non-nationals entering or seeking to enter the State; conditions attached to permissions to remain in the State; and power to charge non-nationals for breaches of permission to remain and to arrest and detain them for such offences.

It is my intention to address the matter by bringing forward appropriate legislation as a matter of urgency to ensure that the normal immigration controls that every sovereign state operates for the protection of the public interests of those who form the society of the state, including the interests of security, can continue to operate in this State. It is also expected that the judgment in question will be appealed.