Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (333)

Eoin Ó Broin


333. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of asylum seekers returned to Zimbabwe in each of the years 2012 to 2015. [44917/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

Firstly, I wish to advise the Deputy that the State cannot and does not deport people who are in the process of seeking asylum or international protection applicants, who have applied under the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) or under the International Protection Act 2015. Such persons may remain in the State while their application is examined. If, after these procedures, an applicant has been found not to be in need of international protection, that person is no longer considered to be an asylum seeker or to be in need of international protection.

Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) gives the Minister for Justice and Equality powers to make a Deportation Order. Section 3(2) of that Act sets out the nature of persons in respect of whom such an Order can be made. This includes, among other categories of person, a person who has served or is serving a term of imprisonment imposed on him or her by a court in the State, a person whose deportation has been recommended by a court in the State before which such person was indicted for or charged with any crime or offence, a person whose application for asylum, based on the provisions of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended), has been refused by the Minister and a person whose deportation would, in the opinion of the Minister, be conducive to the common good.

Section 3(3) of the Act provides the procedure to be followed before any such Order can be made while section 3(4) sets out the three options open to any person put on notice of a proposal to make a Deportation Order in respect of them. These options are to leave the State voluntarily, to consent to deportation or to submit written representations against the making of such an Order.

A refoulement consideration must also be carried out prior to any deportation consideration. This involves consideration of whether returning the person would result in the life or freedom of that person being threatened on account of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, or whether the person would be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. No person is returned to their country of origin, or their place of former habitual residence, where there is a credible risk to their life or freedom.

The data available to the Immigration Service of my Department suggests that the State did not return any individual to Zimbabwe in the years mentioned in the Deputy's query.