Just 23pc of deportation orders are carried out
Published 30/08/2010 | 05:00
FEWER than one-in-four deportation orders have been carried out, new figures obtained by the Irish Independent reveal.
Since 2005, some 5,943 deportation orders have been issued, but up to June of this year only 1,413 asylum seekers were deported.
The poor rate of enforcement -- some 23pc -- was blamed last night on a large number of failed asylum seekers fleeing the State before the orders can be carried out and on delays created by legal challenges in the courts.
The figures come as the High Court begins this week to hold special sittings throughout September to clear a backlog of up to 600 asylum appeals pending.
Under existing legislation, immigration officials are obliged to give 14 days' notice to a person facing deportation.
Officials say that many of those who fail in their attempt to find asylum here, and who subsequently leave the country before arrest, will usually move to the UK. Others agree to leave the State voluntarily and their departures are not recorded on deportation records.
Others appeal the decision in the courts, and since 2004 the State has spent €56.26m funding the Refugee Legal Service, a dedicated office under the auspices of the Legal Aid Board that provides independent legal services to people seeking asylum in Ireland.
Ireland has one of the lowest rates of successful applications for asylum in the European Union. The Government plans to overhaul the country's immigration and asylum regime in a bid to streamline the process.
Separately, the Irish Independent has learned that thousands of failed asylum seekers have claimed they are at risk of serious harm if they are returned home.
The Irish Independent has learned that 4,285 asylum seekers who were denied a declaration of refugee status and faced imminent deportation have applied for subsidiary protection since 2008.
Subsidiary protection is granted to failed asylum seekers who can not be returned to their country of origin if they face the risk of death penalty, execution, torture, ill treatment or violence due to war in their home country.
A person can only apply for subsidiary protection after they have been denied refugee status and must file their claim within 15 days of being denied the right to remain in Ireland.
Beneficiaries of subsidiary protection are entitled to the same rights as those granted refugee status, including the right to work, travel documents, access to training and education as well as social welfare benefits and medical care.