145. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of minors, both accompanied and unaccompanied, that have been issued with deportation orders since April 2014; if she will provide a breakdown of their nationalities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20223/15]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): A total of 54 Deportation Orders in respect of minors were signed during the period referred to by the Deputy. The top five nationalities were Nigeria, China , DR Congo, Mauritius and Malawi. In all cases, the minors were accompanied in the State by a parent or parents, in respect of whom Deportation Orders were also signed. The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department does not issue Deportation Orders to unaccompanied minors.
In enforcing the law in respect of deportations, Ireland is no different to other countries who also remove individuals who have no lawful right to remain within their territory. Ireland, like other EU member states, uses deportation of illegal immigrants and failed asylum seekers as the policy of last resort. The process leading to a deportation is extensive with many avenues of appeal, including judicial review in the High Court, open to persons subject to Deportation Orders. It should also be noted that a Deportation Order requires a person to remove themselves from the State and it is only where they fail to do so that the State is forced to remove them and enforce the rule of law.
In order to provide a more complete picture of the situation regarding the signing of orders for non-Irish nationals minors during the period in question, it should be noted that during the same period there were no Removal Orders signed in respect of EU National minors and that 2 Transfer Orders were signed in respect of minors under the Dublin Regulation.
Minors are not refused leave to land in the State at ports of entry. However, the parents of accompanied minors can be refused leave to land and the accompanied minors are returned with their parents to the country they arrived from. Unaccompanied minors are surrendered to the care of the Health Service Executive.