Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform
In the period January to end October this year, a total of 241 persons were removed from the State on foot of Deportation Orders. In addition to these, a further 2,597 persons were refused leave to land at the State's frontiers and were returned to the place from where they had come. Moreover a further 131 persons were returned to other EU member states under the arrangements in place on foot of the EU legal instrument know as the Dublin Convention II.
While my Department's records do not specifically identify the costs associated with the return of persons in the latter two categories referred to above, they are not likely to be significant since in the case of refusals of leave to land costs are borne by the carriers and in the case of Dublin Convention II cases, the persons in question would be returning to the UK in a significant number of cases and to other European States in the remainder.
In the case of persons who are deported on foot of deportation orders, costs arise on foot of removal on scheduled flights and in the majority of cases, on foot of chartered aircraft.
In the period in question, the total net cost of scheduled and chartered flights was approximately €205,000. For the sake of completeness I should add that the European Border Management Agency – FRONTEX – is a very significant asset in returning persons to distant countries. For example, so far this year, FRONTEX has funded 7 chartered flights in which we participated at no cost.
In the case of costs associated with 5 other chartered flights, there was no cost to Ireland as the flights were funded by other EU member states. Finally, Ireland is also in a position to draw down approximately €500,000 from the European Return Fund 2008-2013 to meet the cost of deportations.
The deportation of failed asylum seekers is costly, particularly where this involves removals to distant countries such as Nigeria or China for example. In many cases, removals are carried out using commercial flights which usually involves transit through other European airports as Ireland does not have direct flights to most of the countries of return. In addition, most flights have to be booked at short notice, near to the date of departure, which involves higher costs than if booked well in advance. However, such costs must be looked at in tandem with the considerable expense arising from the continued presence in the State of persons who have no valid basis for being in the State. Such costs would include accommodation and social welfare costs as well as detention costs in certain cases. While it is important to keep deportation costs to a minimum, to not remove persons who have no valid basis for being in the State would call into question the integrity of the entire asylum and immigration systems. This would leave this State open to further illegal immigration and even greater expense to taxpayers.
My Department will continue to arrange deportations in the most cost effective manner possible including the use of charter flights where this is considered to be most effective. My Department will also continue to work in cooperation with other EU Member States,through the EU-wide FRONTEX network, to carry out joint deportation operations to destinations of shared interest.