Dáil Éireann - Volume 632 - 22 February, 2007

Written Answers. - Deportation Orders.

Mr. Kehoe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the amount that has been spent by his Department in the past five years on flying people who have been deported out of this country; and the amount that has been spent on solicitors fees for the holding of judicial reviews by people fighting deportation orders. [7080/07]

  Mr. McDowell: The deportation costs provided as follows refer to the deportation of either illegal immigrants, persons refused refugee status in the State or persons whose applications for asylum have been transferred to another country under the Dublin Convention/ Dublin II Regulations. The vast majority of the removals involved persons who were refused refugee status in the State.

Set out as follows are the yearly cost of removals of persons subject to either deportation or transfer orders since the commencement of the Immigration Act 1999 by scheduled/commercial and charter flights (including ferries in very limited circumstances for some Dublin II removals) for deportees/transferees and their Garda escorts.

[569]

Year

Cost (Euros) of scheduled/commercial flight removals

1999

27,355

2000

429,570

2001

1,080,604

2002

1,187,626

2003

1,569,813

2004

1,797,523

2005

1,725,745

2006

1,607,685

Full total

9,425,921

The figures above do not include the cost of overtime or subsistence payments for Garda escorts but do include the cost of 25 charter flights since 2002 at a total cost of €3,597,373 Euro.

The deportation of illegal immigrants and refused asylum seekers is costly, particularly to distant countries such as Nigeria, China, etc. In most cases removals are carried out using commercial flights which usually involves transit through other European airports as Ireland does not have direct flights to most of the countries of return. In addition, most flights have to be booked at short notice very near the date of departure which involves higher costs than if booked well in advance.

Also, in considering the costs of deportations, the considerable expense arising from the continued presence in the State of persons who are the subject of deportation orders has to be taken into account. These costs include social welfare costs, direct provision costs, and detention costs in certain cases. While it is important to keep deportation costs to a minimum, not to remove persons refused permission to remain in the State would call into question the integrity of the entire immigration system. This would leave this country open to further illegal immigration and even more expense to taxpayers.

It should be made clear that the Chief State Solicitor acts on behalf of the Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform in civil actions involving the Minister and all costs in relation to legal advice or assistance afforded to him are borne by the Vote of the Chief State Solicitor.

However, legal costs incurred by the opposing side in a civil case involving the Minister may be borne on the Vote of the Minister in circumstances where the Court, as part of its judgment in the case, awards costs against the Minister or where the case is settled prior to the Court hearing and one of the terms of the settlement is that the Minister bears the legal costs of the opposing side:

[570]

Year

Expenditure

2002

1,019,606

2003

311,697

2004

941,207

2005

2,576,027

2006

2,306,556