142. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if there are exceptions to the restrictions on Libyan nationals applying for visas to allow parents of Libyans legally living here to visit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7898/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I wish to advise the Deputy that certain restrictions on consideration of Irish visa applications from residents of Libya have been in place since August, 2014 due to the political and security situation in Libya. All relevant considerations including the ongoing security situation in Libya and the potential economic impact of the restrictions were taken into account when these restriction were applied.
There is provision for a small number of exceptions relating to the beef industry where applications may be accepted from persons who are known to and sponsored by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and/or An Bord Bia and who have a good travel history to Ireland, the UK or the Schengen countries. Certain applications in relation to the oil industry and which are supported by the internationally recognised Government in Libya are also considered.
The position has been kept under review by my Department. Ultimately, an appropriate balance must be struck between State security and individual applicants who wish to come here.
Taking all this into account, I recently decided that the existing approach and restrictions should continue in place for a further six month period. The position however continues to be kept under review, and I have asked my officials to consider whether there is any scope to extend the categories of applicants who may be considered for visa processing.