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Question

29. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the administrative deadline for the return of IPO2 forms; the number of forms which were returned within the deadline of 20 days, printed on the letters which were received by applicants from the IPO; the number of forms returned incomplete with requests for deadline extension; the number of forms returned incomplete without request for deadline extension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15746/17]

Answer

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am advised by the Chief International Protection Officer (CIPO) who, under the International Protection Act, 2015, is independent in the performance of his functions, that the completion of the Application for Protection Questionnaire (IPO 2) is a matter for applicants who may consult a legal representative as appropriate.
As the information sent to applicants for international protection in January/February 2017 made clear, there was no strict deadline for the return of the questionnaire with the time-frame mentioned being purely administrative in nature. Flexibility has been provided by the International Protection Office (IPO) to applicants in relation to the filling out of the form and its return. Clarification in this regard has been included on the IPO website and in communications between that Office and non-governmental organisations.
I am also advised by the CIPO that, as of 24 March 2017, of the approximately 3,100 questionnaires which were issued to applicants covered by the transitional provisions in the 2015 Act, approximately 1,730 have been returned to date. The other information requested by the Deputy would require a disproportionate amount of time and resources to provide.
As has been pointed out in information material issued to applicants by the IPO, supplementary information, including that which may not have been provided in the initial return, can be provided to that Office up to two weeks prior to the date of an applicant's scheduled interview. This time-scale will facilitate the translation of documents where required and ensure that the IPO interviewer has all the relevant papers available and considered in advance of the interview date.