Just 38pc of failed asylum seekers deported
LESS than four out of 10 deportation orders signed by Justice Minister Dermot Ahern in the past six months have been implemented.
The poor rate of enforcement was blamed last night on a large number of failed asylum seekers fleeing the State before the orders can be carried out and delays created by legal challenges in the courts.
Measures to streamline the deportation rules and boost the numbers being implemented are now in progress.
Mr Ahern has released figures showing that only 126 orders have been implemented so far this year, although he signed a total of 332 since January 1. This represents a success rate of 38pc.
But the figures for 2010 are still an improvement on last year.
In 2009, the minister signed 985 orders but only 291 were implemented -- a rate of 30pc.
According to the Department of Justice last night, many of those served with a deportation order leave the State at that stage, before it can be implemented, and they do not inform the immigration authorities of their departure.
Under existing legislation, immigration officials are obliged to give 14 days' notice to a person facing deportation.
Officials say that many of those who have failed in their attempt to find asylum here, and leave the country before arrest, usually move to the UK.
Others agree to leave the State voluntarily and their departures are not recorded on deportation records. And some delay the process by appealing in the courts.
However, the cost of deportations has been reduced by the introduction of joint charter operations through an EU-wide agency known as Frontex.
In 2008, 69 people were sent back to Nigeria on four Frontex flights in which the authorities in the UK, Netherlands, Austria, Luxembourg, Poland, Switzerland, France, Germany and Spain also participated.
Last year, 151 were returned to Nigeria on six Frontex flights while six were deported to Georgia on two Frontex flights.
So far this year, Ireland has participated in two joint charters, deporting a total of 43 to Nigeria.
The new Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill is intended to speed up deportations and will provide that a person unlawfully in the State will be under an obligation to leave.