145. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the current and expected status in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22437/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy is aware, if an application for asylum or subsidiary protection has been made in the State, for confidentiality reasons it is not the practice to comment on such applications or to provide comment on what stage such applications are at in the administrative process. Under Section 26 of the International Protection Act 2015, it is an offence to identify an international applicant. As a result it would be contrary to national law for me or my Department officials to provide information which pertains to a protection applicant. The Chief International Protection Officer and his team of International Protection Officers are also bound by the confidentiality provisions of Section 26 of the 2015 Act to protect the identity of the applicant. Applicants or their legal representatives should contact the International Protection Office directly either by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, by telephone to the IPO Customer Service Centre at 01 6028008 or in writing to Customer Service Centre, International Protection Office, 79-83 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2.
Following the commencement of the International Protection Act 2015 on 31 December 2016, new arrangements for the investigation and determination of applications for international protection (refugee status and subsidiary protection) and cases involving permission to remain in the State have been introduced. Such applications are now processed, as part of a single application procedure, by the International Protection Office (IPO) which has replaced the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC) from that date. The staff of that Office (the Chief International Protection Officer and International Protection Officers) are independent in the performance of their protection functions.
For your information, on 27 February 2017, the Chief International Protection Officer, following consultation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), published a statement on the Prioritisation of Applications under the International Protection Act 2015 which is available on the website of the International Protection Office ( www.ipo.gov.ie ).
Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS of my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.