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We've halved d1m bill for deportations

THE amount spent deporting illegal immigrants is set to be halved this year.

New figures suggest the number of people being deporting from Ireland has plummeted in recent months.

During 2009, taxpayers were forced to stump up over €1m to fly asylum seekers out of the country.

But in the first three months of this year, the bill was just under €85,000. If this trend were to continue for the year the total expense could come in at under €400,000.

According to the Department of Justice, most of the removals involved persons whose asylum applications were refused.

Since 2005, €6m has been paid out for scheduled flights and in some cases gardai had to charter planes to fly people out of the country. The highest bill was in 2005 when the total cost was more than €1.6m.

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern explained: "My Department deports persons to non-European Economic Area (EEA) countries."

Mr Ahern declined to release information about the 10 most expensive deportations as it would "involve a disproportionate use of resources".





Massive

However, he noted the most expensive case involved the removal of a Ghanaian man in March 2008. That deportation alone cost a massive €151,900.

"In this case, attempts to remove the man by scheduled flight were unsuccessful due to his violent reaction to his deportation. For safety reasons he was subsequently removed by charter flight," said the minister.

However, he said the costs involved were justified as keeping these people in the country would also hurt taxpayers.

"In considering the costs of deportations, the considerable expense arising from the continued presence in the State of persons who are the subject of deportation orders has to be taken into account," said Mr Ahern.

"These costs include social welfare costs, direct provision costs, and detention costs in certain cases."

However, it emerged earlier this year that only a quarter of deportation orders issued during 2009 were actually carried out. Mr Ahern signed 939 deportation orders in 2009, but only 236 were carried out.

Figures for the five years between 2003 and 2008 show just 2,431 of 8,960 deportation orders were actually acted on.

kdoyle@herald.ie


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