Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Ceisteanna (205)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

205. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the increase in the number of persons seeking asylum or subsidiary protection over the past three years; the reason for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38287/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, applications for international protection, or asylum as the process was formerly described before we introduced the International Protection Act 2015, is demand-led. It is not possible to accurately predict demand but we know that it can be greatly affected by international events such as regional conflicts and general global migration trends.

The total number of applications received over the past three years is provided in the following table, for the Deputy's information.

As the table shows, the number of applications received has been steadily increasing in recent years. In 2017, there was an annual increase of 30% followed by a further annual increase of approximately 26% last year. To date this year, we have seen a 36% increase in the number of applications received.

Applications are examined by the International Protection Office (IPO), which is independent in exercising its international protection functions. The introduction of a single application procedure under the International Protection Act 2015 means that the IPO is now examining all grounds for granting protection or a humanitarian permission to remain in one process rather than sequentially as before. The aim is to identify as early as possible those who are in need of our protection and those who can safely return to their country of origin. Currently, applications are being processed by the IPO in an average of 16 months with prioritised applications being processed in approximately 9 months. Our aim is to reduce processing in all cases to 9 months; however, this is naturally impacted by the number of applications received.

Year

Total Applications

2016 (Asylum)

2,244

2017 (International Protection)

2,926

2018 (International Protection)

3,673

2019 (International Protection)

3,095*

* figure to the end of August 2019