Ireland will deport or remove more than 4,000 people from its shores this year, the highest number in six years.
The disclosure came from Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald.
“It should be noted that the overwhelming majority of persons who arrive at the frontiers of the State without permission to enter or reside here are refused leave to land, without ever reaching the stage where they would be considered under the deportation process,” she said.
“Indeed, this figure has risen substantially to almost 3,500 last year (2015) and is expected to exceed 4,000 this year.
“Others voluntarily remove themselves before a deportation order is made.”
Her comments came in response to parliamentary question from Independent TD Mattie McGrath in relation to forced deportations.
There were approximately 3,000 people removed or deported from Ireland in 2011, 2,600 in 2012, 2,200 in 2013, 2,700 in 2014, and 3,790 in 2015.
The people who were refused entry or deported had travelled in from five main countries, according to the Department of Justice.
The top countries of origin in percentage terms of deportation or removal are Albania (9.2%), Brazil (9.6%), Nigeria (7.5%), South Africa (7.4%), and Pakistan (6%).
However, a spokesperson for the Irish Refugee Council confirmed to the Irish Examiner that some individuals from Syria were denied entry to Ireland last year.
“People from refugee-producing countries such as Syria, Eritrea, and Afghanistan were refused leave to land in Ireland last year,” the spokesperson said.
“Given the countries of origin involved, and the potential for a protection need arising, there is a serious need for transparency and independent oversight at our borders, to ensure that people who do express fears of persecution or serious harm in their country of origin are properly facilitated in exercising their right to seek protection.”
Last year, new legislation in the form of the International Protection Act 2015 gave additional powers to An Garda Síochána to enforce orders where persons subject to deportation orders have failed to comply with their legal obligation to remove themselves from the State.
“Since the legislation was amended, 33 persons have been forcibly removed from the State by An Garda Síochána out of a total of 193 deportation orders affected since 10 March, 2016,” said Ms Fitzgerald.
The cases refer to any person seeking entry to Ireland, as opposed to those seeking asylum as a result of the migrant crisis in the Middle East.
Various EU member states have agreed to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers, with Ireland promising to relocate 4,000 people, currently residing in migrant hotspots such as Greece and Italy.
As of July 2016, a total of 38 Syrians have been relocated to Ireland.
Furthermore, according to the EU’s fifth relocation and resettlement report published in July, Ireland relocated just one unaccompanied minor in that month.
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