Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (520)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

520. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons, and their nationality, who, in 2012 and 2013, after being refused leave to land in Ireland, were subsequently placed on a flight and returned to Istanbul in Turkey; Dubai and Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates and any other locations. [5202/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

In all cases, removals from the State, whether in respect of those who are removed on foot of refusal of leave to land decisions at ports of entry or those who are already in the State, are conducted in accordance with the law. Removals are essentially operational matters for the Garda National Immigration Bureau who work closely with officials of my Department in arranging the necessary travel documents and other papers required.

In keeping with standard practice in other jurisdictions, some individuals are escorted to their country of origin or to a connecting hub. Chartered aircraft as well as scheduled commercial aircraft and ferries are used to effect removals. Section 5 of the Immigration Act, 2003 contains the main provisions dealing with the removal from the State of persons refused leave to land and specifies that a person to whom this section applies may be arrested by an immigration officer or a member of the Garda Síochána and detained in a prescribed place of detention for the purpose of facilitating their removal from the State, which must be as soon as is practicable.

In general it is the practice to remove persons from the State on the next available flight or ship. It should be noted by virtue of Section 5(3) of the Immigration Act, 2003, the State has a positive duty to remove a person as soon as practicable. The detention of a person cannot exceed eight weeks in aggregate in accordance with the provisions of Section 5(3)(a) of the Immigration Act, 2003 which states “A person arrested and detained under this section may, subject to subsection (4), be detained only until such time (being as soon as practicable) as he or she is removed from the State in accordance with this section but, in any event, may not be detained for a period exceeding 8 weeks in aggregate”.

The information requested by the Deputy in relation to nationality and all of the locations to which a person refused leave to land was returned is not readily available. In that respect it should be noted that persons arriving into the State from a certain destination may not necessarily be returned to that destination but sent back directly to their country of origin or returned via a hub airport to their point of embarkation.

I can however inform the Deputy that in respect of persons refused leave to land arriving from the locations mentioned the position is the following. In 2012, 117 non-EEA nationals who had arrived from Istanbul, Turkey were refused leave to land 25 of whom were subsequently permitted to enter the State having made an asylum application pursuant to the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended)), 58 non-EEA nationals who had arrived from Dubai, United Arab Emirates were refused leave to land (9 of whom were subsequently permitted to enter the State having made an asylum application), and 123 non-EEA nationals, who had arrived from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, were refused leave to land (21 of whom were subsequently permitted to enter the State having made an asylum application). In 2013, the equivalent figures for persons refused leave to land arriving from Ankara, Dubai and Abu Dhabi were 142, 52 and 167 respectively, of which 37, 5 and 46 persons were subsequently permitted to enter the State having made an application for asylum.