Wednesday, 3 June 2020
Department of Justice and Equality
381. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the position of persons subject to the Dublin III Regulation during the Covid-19 pandemic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9222/20]
382. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons subject to the Dublin III Regulation and whose case is stayed in view of ongoing court proceedings concerning discretion and the Dublin III Regulation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9223/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 381 and 382 together.
I can inform the Deputy that a total of 223 judicial review cases, which include 281 persons, are in place at present concerning discretion and the Dublin III EU Regulation.
As the Deputy will be aware, the Dublin III Regulation determines which EU Member State is responsible for examining a person's application for international protection. All applicants who are identified as being possible Dublin III cases at the International Protection Office (IPO) are put into the process and Ireland is still requesting other responsible EU Member States to 'take charge' of any identified applicant. Other Member States who identify that Ireland is responsible for an applicant have, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, also been applying the Dublin process to Ireland.
The interviewing of applicants in accordance with Article 5 of the Regulation has been suspended since March 2020. Due to the restrictions arising from measures to limit the spread of the virus, the IPO has not been in a position to issue any recommendations to date because of the impact on applicants, their legal representatives, the International Protection Appeals Tribunal and other areas of my Department. This, in turn, would go against the necessary national measures to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
I would also like to inform the Deputy that the enforcement of Dublin transfer orders is an operational matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau. Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, Dublin transfers are subject to operational constraints and, as such, all cases are considered on a case by case basis.
Finally, I can assure the Deputy that the Immigration Service Delivery of my Department continues to provide its services in line with national efforts to deal with the current COVID-19 situation. The matter is under constant review and pragmatic decisions will be made where required.
383. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if consideration has been given to granting permission to remain to the approximately 150 healthcare workers in the protection process in the event that they receive a negative refugee or subsidiary protection application decision in view of the fact that they have undertaken and continue to undertake vital healthcare work during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9224/20]
My Department looks at all international protection applications made in the State on a case by case basis in accordance with the legislation, the International Protection Act 2015. Each consideration takes into account a number of factors as set out in section 49 of the Act.
If an applicant fails in their International Protection claim, they may seek humanitarian leave to remain. Permission to remain is also considered under the International Protection Act 2015. Under the Act, when I am making a decision on whether to grant an applicant permission to remain in the State, I must consider any information submitted by the applicant throughout the process plus the nature of their connection to the State. A person’s character and conduct is taken into consideration. Also, an applicant’s private and family rights are examined in accordance with the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights and a complete refoulement assessment is carried out to ensure that the conditions in an applicant’s relevant country of origin allow for their safe return.
Furthermore, it should be noted that all decisions at each stage of the process may be subject to review by the High Court.