'Ludicrous' | 

3,887 asylum seekers undocumented in Ireland after dodging deportation order

Almost 84pc of asylum seekers who were ordered to leave the country in this time frame have an “unknown status” in Ireland.

The Garda National Immigration Bureau. Photo: Douglas O'Connor

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

Almost 4,000 asylum seekers who were served deportation orders have an “unknown status” in Ireland, new figures have revealed.

New Freedom of Information data has shown that 4,631 deportation orders were issued to people seeking international protection between 2018 and 2022.

Deportation orders are served in a letter which states that, by law, those in question must present themselves at the Office of the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) on a specified date and time to make arrangements for their exit from the country.

Migrants who fail to present themselves to the GNIB are assumed to be evading their deportation and “immediately become liable to arrest and detention”.

The GNIB enforced 314 of the orders (almost 7pc) while the Department of Justice assisted an additional 430 people (9pc) with self-deportation after their asylum applications were rejected.

That means that almost 84pc (3,887) of asylum seekers who were ordered to leave the country in this time frame have an “unknown status” in Ireland.

Speaking to Newstalk, Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín said he believes Ireland’s immigration system is “broken” and claimed that the process of deportation is “voluntary”.

“It is an incredible situation that those who have failed in their asylum application, that the vast majority of those are either still in the country or the Government doesn’t know where they are,” he said.

“That there is no process at the airports or at the ferry ports to identify when a person has left the country and, in many ways, the Government’s deportation system is a voluntary system. People will be shocked by that.”

He said that the country is in a “ludicrous” position as a result of the flawed deportation system.

“The Government has a process where deportation does not mean deportation.

“Deportation means that the Government issues you with an order but does not follow through in making sure that it is delivered upon.

“We have this really strange situation – this ludicrous situation – that the Government, when you ask them how many people have had their deportation order fulfilled, simply shrugs. They don’t know.”

The Meath politician said that the deportation problem affects “real refugees” who have fleed to the State.

“There is also a cost to refugees in these terms because we find it difficult to provide safe, warm, comfortable accommodation to real refugees when we have a whole system full of people who the State has already determined are not refugees or are not asylum seekers,” he said.

It comes after the Irish Refugee Council raised concerns about the record 226 asylum seekers who have not been provided accommodation by the State.

One in ten international protection applicants who have arrived in the country so far this year are sleeping rough, according to figures released by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth earlier this month.

Under a new policy introduced at the end of January, newly arrived asylum seekers who enter Ireland without children are no longer being offered a place to stay due to a shortage of accommodation for international protection applicants.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil TD Cathal Crowe has criticised the practice of housing asylum seekers in tents as “wrong and inhumane” while a community group has likened it to a “concentration camp”.

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