The Expert Advisory Group, led by Dr Catherine Day, was established to report on the Provision of Support including Accommodation to Persons in the International Protection Process. As the Deputy may be aware, the Group recommended that ‘The State should develop a strategy and if necessary enact legislation for dealing with unsuccessful applicants who are deemed “non-returnable”’. This and all other recommendations made by the Group are being carefully examined by a Programme Board established in my Department for this purpose.
More broadly, I can say that my Department has taken a pragmatic and compassionate approach to immigration arrangements in the context of the pandemic and this will continue for as long as is necessary. The Deputy will be aware that in recent days Minister Humphreys and I have provided a final temporary extension to 15 January 2022 of all immigration permissions due to expire between 21 September 2021 and 15 January 2022 , providing certainty of status for thousands of people.
The Deputy will appreciate that my Department must operate within the confines of the immigration and international protection legislation enacted by the Oireachtas. The Deputy can be assured that all decisions are taken with the greatest of care and in full knowledge of the individual applicant’s circumstances, insofar as they have been made known to us. The existing legislative and operational processes cater for all situations which may arise, particularly in those cases where the exercise of ministerial discretion may be warranted.