Gardaí set to win asylum raids power

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has proposed a law to allow An Garda Síochána to enter private dwellings in order to arrest asylum seekers who have been subjected to a deportation order.

The provisions of the International Protection Bill, which establishes a single applications procedure for asylum seekers, will be considered by the Cabinet today.

In March, Ms Fitzgerald said the bill would achieve a “balance in treating asylum seekers with humanity and respect while at the same time ensuring more efficient immigration procedures and safeguards”.

The bill will also see the existing Refugee Appeals Tribunal replaced with a “newly constituted and independent appeals body” which will make more consistent decisions.

The bill’s consideration comes as new figures show the number of deportations in Ireland tumbling since a 2013 High Court judgement which found that gardaí do not have the right to enter private dwellings to arrest asylum seekers.

There were 302 deportations in 2012, but this fell to 209 in 2013 and 114 in 2014 after the ruling in Omar v Governor of Cloverhill Prison and the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

Meanwhile, the total number of asylum applications increased to 1,448 in 2014.

A Government source told the Irish Times: “The need to reform the asylum system is long standing. The number of applications is on the rise. If the current rate continues, we are looking at 7,000 applications in 2016.”

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