I propose to take Questions Nos. 152, 153 and 154 together.
Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 was adopted in June 2013 and applies to applications for international protection lodged as from 1 January 2014. This Regulation is generally referred to as the Dublin Regulation and establishes the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person. The Regulation adopted in June 2013 is a recast of an earlier Regulation adopted in February 2003. Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 118/2014 was adopted in January 2014 for the purpose of amending an earlier Regulation adopted in September 2003 laying down detailed rules for the application of the Dublin Regulation.
In accordance with Article 288 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union these Regulations have general application and are binding in their entirety and directly applicable in all Member States including, in this case, Ireland. The operation in Ireland of the Dublin Regulation is supported by the Refugee Act 1996 (Section 22) Order 2003 (S.I. No. 423 of 2003). This Order deals primarily with the functions of the Refugee Applications Commissioner, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal and my Department in relation to the operation of the Dublin Regulation in Ireland.
Consultations between my Department and the Office of the Attorney General are ongoing in relation to changes to the national regulatory framework to facilitate the smooth operation in Ireland of the recast Dublin Regulation. It appears that the most likely outcome of these consultations is that it will be necessary to amend or replace the Order made under section 22 of the Refugee Act. In any event, it is intended to maintain the key roles in the operation of the Dublin Regulation in Ireland which are currently assigned to the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal by the Order of 2003.
Under section 6 of the Refugee Act the Refugee Applications Commissioner is independent in the exercise of his or her functions under the Act. The Commissioner has informed my Department that, in respect of third-country nationals applying for asylum in Ireland, he is, for the time being, availing of the option provided by Article 17 of the recast Dublin Regulation to decide to examine such an application. In these circumstances the Dublin Regulation provides that Ireland shall become the Member State responsible and shall assume the obligations associated with that responsibility.