Filter

Question

17. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she has received legal advice as to Ireland's and the United States' obligations to refugees under the Geneva Convention. [15512/17]

Answer

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I refer the Deputy to my response to her Question No. 62 of Thursday, 16 February in which I explained Ireland's obligations under the Geneva Convention. Persons who claim protection in the State will have their application fully considered under the International Protection Act 2015 which gives effect to the State's obligations under the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Ireland, of course, has no role in the US policy or procedures for dealing with persons who seek asylum from the US authorities. This is solely a matter for the US authorities.
I assume the Deputy raises the matter in the context of the US preclearance arrangements that exist at Dublin and Shannon airports. The matter has been examined by a cross Departmental group consisting of the Departments of Transport, Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Justice & Equality. The group had access to legal advice from the Office of the Attorney General.
The preclearance arrangements are set out in the Aviation (Preclearance) Act 2009. Specifically, Section 12 of the Act provides that a person who is refused preclearance to travel onwards to the United States, shall be deemed for the purpose of the Aliens Act 1935 and the Immigration Act 2004, to have arrived at the frontier of the State. In many cases, the persons are Irish citizens or EU nationals subject to Free Movement and once this is established they are not subject to any further immigration requirements.
In circumstances where a person is refused leave to board a US bound flight, he or she is reverted to the Garda immigration authorities and the case is considered by Garda immigration officers in the same manner as if they had presented at the frontier of the State seeking permission to enter the State. For those subject to immigration controls under the Immigration Act 2004, as is normal in these cases, each case is examined on its individual merits to determine if the person is to be given permission to enter the State. Accordingly, the provisions of the Geneva Convention in respect of such persons are considered under Irish law by Irish immigration officers.