migration issue | 

Simon Harris says border control to conduct checks on travellers arriving without documents

The minister’s comments come amid survey findings showing large numbers of people believe Ireland has already ‘taken in too many migrants’

Justice Minister Simon Harris pledged to speed up decisions on asylum claims. Photo: Brian Lawless© PA

John DowningIndependent.ie

The Justice Minister has said gardai will conduct checks on passengers leaving planes in Ireland without travel documentation.

Simon Harris said the checks will take place three times a week on average.

He vowed to “face down” far-right agitators who seek to exploit community tensions on the migration issue.

Mr Harris again denounced people who are “trying to sow community divisions over the migration emergency” and pledged that the Government will continue to support victims of war and discrimination who seek assistance in Ireland. He believed the vast majority of Irish people support this stance.

The minister’s comments come amid survey findings showing large numbers of people believe Ireland has already “taken in too many migrants” and growing signs of some community tension on the issue.

“Those people who go into communities stoking up tensions and spreading lies must be, and will be, faced down,” the interim justice minister said.

Gardaí in Dublin have been devising policing plans for demonstrations likely to happen in the centre of the capital today.

The minister has also pledged to speed up decisions on asylum claims, however, he said gardaí will step up checks on people arriving into the country without documentation.

Mr Harris said cases of asylum applications for migrants from what was generally deemed a “safe country of origin” had been taking between 17 and 24 months to process. But this timeframe would now be reduced to 12 weeks.

A “safe country” is one deemed to generally uphold good practice on human rights. But these applications must be assessed on an individual basis to ensure the authorities in such countries are in fact upholding their obligations.

“Ireland is a fair and compassionate country for those fleeing serious life-threatening difficulties and most Irish people totally support that policy. But we also need to show that we have a balanced, rules-based system for welcoming those in such difficulties and dealing compassionately – but more promptly – with their applications,” Mr Harris said.

The minister said the border management unit and gardaí from the Garda National Immigration Bureau will regularly meet with airline passengers as they leave planes at Dublin and other airports after declaring they have no identity documents. Such checks are expected to happen three times per week on average.

Officials pointed to the increase in the number of deportation orders being issued to migrants with a total of 645 such orders being issued since last September and 128 in the month of January alone. It is understood that many people leave after getting such orders but in some cases the intervention of gardaí is needed.

There is growing speculation the Government will begin to look at tapering off supports for Ukrainian migrants in due course as the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine approaches on February 24. There is also talk of speeding up a citizenship process for Ukrainians entering the European Union.

But it is likely that such changes in approach would be better done at a coordinated EU level. This and other issues will be discussed when the EU leaders meet at a special summit on Thursday in Brussels.

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