Number of deportations ‘increasing on monthly basis’, says Minister for Justice

Garda Commissioner says new Garda immigration office at Dublin Port will deal with people refused entry into Ireland in a ‘safe and speedy manner’

Any person who has committed a serious crime and has been issued with a deportation order is exiting the State with the assistance of gardaí and is not being left to “self-deport”, the Minister for Justice has said.

Speaking at the opening of a new Garda immigration office at Dublin Port, Helen McEntee said the “majority of people” do self-deport despite reports earlier this year that most people issued with a deportation order do not leave the country.

Figures from the Department of Justice show that less than 7 per cent of the more than 4,500 deportation orders issued in the last five years have been seen through An Garda Síochána, while another 9.2 per cent of failed international protection applicants left the country themselves.

Security sources believe a large proportion of people issued with deportation orders leave the country without informing the authorities.


Ms McEntee said the number of deportations was “increasing on a monthly basis”, and that “anyone with a serious offence is being deported and not being left up to any self-deportation measures”.

She admitted there were “challenges” in returning people to certain countries, but that in the “vast majority of cases people have left”. She also referenced legislation introduced in August which means people convicted of serious offences can be served a deportation order without the option of leaving voluntarily.

Asked to comment on plans to time limit State-provided accommodation for new arrivals from Ukraine to 90 days, and a potential corresponding cut to social welfare rates, Ms McEntee said the Government was continuing to meet regularly to examine the issue but that it would continue to support those fleeing war.

The Minister noted that the new immigration office would allow for “increased efforts in combating human trafficking, drug smuggling and other serious offences, and help us build stronger, safer communities”.

The new building, which is located in the former Calor Gas office site in Dublin Port, includes a “secure detention area to process detainees” along with interview rooms and medical facilities for those arriving from overseas.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said any passengers refused leave to land into the country could now be “dealt with in a safe and speedy manner before their return, or if they are claiming asylum they can be medically examined here and treated if needed”.

The Government has been repeatedly criticised in recent years for housing foreign nationals who are refused leave to land at Irish ports in prison rather than in dedicated facilities. The Irish Penal Reform Trust described the practice as “wholly unacceptable”, while the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has reported that people held in Irish prisons for immigration reasons were “subjected to abuse and bullying from prisoners”.

“A prison is by definition not a suitable place in which to detain someone who is neither suspected nor convicted of a criminal offence,” the CPT has said.

Asked whether foreign nationals refused entry at Dublin Airport would be transferred to Dublin Port for detention until their return flight, Mr Harris said the force would use the port facilities but would also make use of the four single-person cells at the airport’s Garda station. “That’s preferable for short-term detention as opposed to prison,” he said.

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast