Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Questions (342)

Michael McGrath

Question:

342. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has the power to revoke the refugee status of a person if the person engages in serious criminal behaviour and has been convicted of certain offences before the courts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23678/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the power to revoke a declaration of refugee status is dependent on the specific provisions of the legislation under which the status was initially granted.

Where refugee status was granted under the former Refugee Act 1996, status may be revoked in accordance with Section 21(1)(g)of that Act where the persons presence in the State poses a threat to national security or public policy.

The law has been strengthened somewhat in this area since the introduction of the International Protection Act 2015. Section 52 of the International Protection Act  2015 provides for the revocation of refugee status by the Minister in a number of circumstances.

Specifically, section 52(2) of the Act provides that the Minister "...may, in accordance with this section, revoke a refugee declaration given to a person if satisfied that -

(a) there are reasonable grounds for regarding him or her as a danger to the security of the State, or

(b) the person, having been by a final judgment convicted, whether in the State or not, of a particularly serious crime, constitutes a danger to the community of the State.". 

This legal provision is invoked from time to time.  In consideration of cases for revocation and continuation of their immigration permission to be in the State, detailed consideration must be given to a wide range of factors including the nature of offences, other ties to the State,  non-refoulement considerations as well as jurisprudence in this area.   

It should be noted that the legal principle of non-refoulement means a state cannot expel or return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his or her life or freedom would be threatened on account of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. The State’s non-refoulement obligations arise under the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol.