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566. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Justice the number of applicants going through the accelerated process at the International Protections Office; the number going through the non-accelerated process; and the total number respectively in tabular form.. [37800/21]

567. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Justice the overall median waiting time for applications through the International Protections Office; and the median waiting time for accelerated and non-accelerated applications, respectively in tabular form. [37801/21]

Answer

Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy James Browne): I propose to take Questions Nos. 567 and 566 together.
Just to clarify for the Deputy, accelerated procedures, as provided for under EU asylum law, are not currently carried out by the International Protection Office of my Department.  Each application is assessed individually on its own merits, in accordance with the provisions of the International Protection Act 2015.   Certain types of application are prioritised in accordance with the Prioritisation Statement agreed with the UNHCR and published on the IPO website at: http://www.ipo.gov.ie/en/ipo/pages/prioritisation_applicants. This Statement was updated with effect from 14 June 2021.  
The International Protection Office has remained open to offer applicants a service, in line with our international obligations to allow those who wish to claim international protection the opportunity to do so. The provision of the facility to allow people claim international protection is considered an essential service at all times, including during the Covid-19 crisis.
The interview schedule for the International Protection Office (IPO) has, however, been severely disrupted during this time. As of 30 June 2021, the total number of applicants awaiting interviews in the IPO are set out in the table below:

Applicants whose interview falls to be prioritised    930
All others   3,500
Total for interview 4,430


The median processing times for applications processed to completion at first instance in Q1 2021, are set out in the table below. I expected that figures in respect of Q2 2021 will be available shortly.
Median processing times for applications processed to completion  
at the International Protection Office in  Quarter 1 2021
Prioritised cases   16.1 months  
Non prioritised cases   24 months  
All cases 22.2 months

In general, the scheduling of interviews by the IPO is done in accordance with the prioritisation statement mentioned previously.  Prioritisation, as provided for under section 73 of the International Protection Act 2015, is subject to the need for fairness and efficiency in dealing with all applications for international protection.  Scheduling of cases will primarily be done on the basis of the date of application (oldest cases first). Question No. 567 answered with Question No. 566.