Written Answers. - Voluntary Repatriation Schemes.

Ivor Callely

Ceist:

100 Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his Department operates a repatriation scheme for refugees and asylum seekers who wish to return to their country of origin similar to the scheme for programme refugees; the number of refugees and asylum seekers under the aegis of his Department who have applied for repatriation to their county of origin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15380/98]

My Department is in the process of examining the whole area of voluntary repatriation schemes taking into account the experiences of other countries and the information available to us from the International Organisation for Immigration (IOM) and the intergovernmental consultations on asylum, refugee and migration policies in Europe, North America and Australia (IGC).

During the period 1993 to 31 May 1998, less than ten applicants for refugee status withdrew their application on the grounds that they wished to return to their country of origin. These applicants received assistance with their travel costs and arrangements.