112. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice the status of the implementation of the changes to the asylum process which were approved by the Government; the details of the delays in the implementation of same; the new timeframe for the implementation of the changes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48971/21]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy James Browne): My Department's objective is to have decisions made on applications from people seeking international protection, including the permission to remain consideration, as soon as possible. This ensures that those who are found to be in need of our protection can receive it quickly and begin rebuilding their lives here with a sense of safety and security.
My Department is fully committed to implementing the key recommendations in the Expert Advisory Group Report to reduce processing times of both first instance decisions and appeals to 6 months respectively, as outlined in the White Paper to End Direct Provision and Establish a New International Protection Support Service.
The White Paper proposes that the new system should be phased in and operational by 2024 and that the intervening period should provide an opportunity to progress improvements in the overall processing times for international protection.
My Department intends, in the first instance, to prioritise processing of all cases using improved processes and the planned ICT investment in the system. The International Protection Office of my Department is also examining and implementing measures with a view to speeding up processing times and reducing the overall number of applicants in the protection process. These measures include training more staff to conduct interviews and complete reports, whilst also streamlining processes to assist in expediting applications in the medium to long term. An end-to-end review of relevant international protection processes by a multi-disciplinary team from within my Department, has now been completed and published.
My Department will, by October 2022 at the latest, commence a review of progress made in reducing and improving processing times and based on the outcome of that review, decide by the end of 2022, whether additional measures are required in order to ensure that the new system can come into operation without the overhang of any significant number of legacy cases.