Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (440)

Jennifer Whitmore


440. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore asked the Minister for Justice if an analysis has been carried out on the effects that letters consistently being sent to persons facing deportation outlining their requirement to present themselves to their local Garda stations is having on their mental health; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2917/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

In line with the clear commitments that both I and the Taoiseach have given, the position remains that no further deportation orders are being enforced during the Covid-19 pandemic except in circumstances where an individual may be a threat to national security and whose presence in Ireland would be contrary to the public interest.

Furthermore, my Department has consistently adopted a pragmatic approach in relation to immigration arrangements in the context of Covid-19. This pragmatic approach to deportation orders will continue for as long as is necessary.

The enforcement of a deportation order is an operational matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB). For the purpose of enforcing the Order, the person is required to present at the offices of the GNIB, either at the Burgh Quay office in Dublin, or at their local Immigration Office. They may be directed to attend at specified times on specific dates until such time as the deportation process has been completed.

It is of course open to any person who is the subject of a deportation order to engage with voluntary repatriation arrangements, or to comply with their obligation to leave the country. In those circumstances, the issue of enforced deportation does not arise.

GNIB issue what are referred to as presentation letters on a regular basis to people who are subject to a Deportation Order, to ensure continued engagement and to keep them up to date on their requirements to present in person, as enshrined in legislation. I am advised that the GNIB is not in a position to provide a definitive repatriation date to a person subject to a Deportation Order, therefore, provisional presentation dates are issued. When a date for the repatriation process draws closer and where repatriation is unlikely to occur, owing to various reasons, including the current COVID-19 pandemic, the GNIB will issue a new presentation letter to the person. At all times, any person subject to a Deportation Order is kept appraised of the situation and the GNIB continue to engage with them by post, email and telephone.

Section 3 (11) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) allows an Order to be amended or revoked by making a request to me as Minister for Justice. In making a revocation request, a person can raise new or changed circumstances in their case, including in relation to their country of origin. I encourage people to be as detailed as possible in their representations to me and my Department, so that fully informed decisions can be made at the appropriate time.