264. Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill asked the Minister for Justice if she will consider prioritising applications by Afghans currently in direct provision centres given the difficult and increasingly stressful situation in Afghanistan; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48264/21]


Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy James Browne): For those who are in the international protection process, our objective is to have decisions made on their applications, 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.
This applies to everyone in the international protection process, whether they are residing in Direct Provision accommodation or living independently in the community.
I am very conscious of the plight faced by the Afghan people following the collapse of the former Afghan government and the takeover by the Taliban, that has further fuelled the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. 
My Department is currently reviewing all international protection applications on hand from Afghan nationals with a view to expediting their progress. This is in line with updated advice provided by UNHCR in recent weeks. These applications are already prioritised, as agreed with UNHCR. The processing of these applications takes full account of whether a person will be in danger if not provided with a permission to remain here.
So far this year (to end September), there have been 125 applications made from people providing Afghanistan as their country of origin at the time of application.