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Question

431. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice the number of children seeking international protection in Ireland at present. [60031/21]

432. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice the number of children seeking international protection in Ireland at present who are in the State unaccompanied; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [60032/21]

433. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice the number of children who sought or applied for international protection in Ireland in each of the past five years and to date in 2021; and the number who were granted asylum here in each of the past five years. [60033/21]

434. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Justice the number of persons that sought or applied for international protection in Ireland in each of the past five years and to date in 2021; and the number that were granted asylum here in each of the past five years. [60034/21]

Answer

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): I propose to take Questions Nos. 431 to 434, inclusive, together.
The International Protection Office (IPO) of my Department is responsible for examining all international protection applications received.
Tusla, the Child and Family Agency has statutory responsibility for the care of any unaccompanied minors in the State. If an unaccompanied minor indicates that they wish to apply for international protection, they are referred to Tusla, either by the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) at the airport/port of entry, or by staff at the IPO of my Department. The IPO refers all persons who present at the IPO indicating that they wish to apply for international protection and who state that they are unaccompanied minors to Tusla.
Section 15(4) of the International Protection Act 2015, provides that where it appears to the Child and Family Agency, on the basis of information, including legal advice, available to it, that an application for international protection should be made on behalf of a child under 18 in respect of whom it is providing care and protection, it shall arrange for an employee of the Agency to make an application on behalf of the child and to represent and assist the child with respect to the examination of the application.
All applications for international protection made by Tusla on behalf of unaccompanied minors are prioritised by the IPO for processing, and the IPO has specially trained caseworkers to process these applications. Specific arrangements will be made by the IPO in conjunction with Tusla for the processing of the application. Tusla will support the minor throughout the process, including attending at their interview.
For a variety of reasons, not all unaccompanied minors referred to Tusla will make an application for international protection. Some may be inappropriate referrals, others may not be brought into the care of Tusla, and a number will be reunited with their families, who then have responsibility for submitting a protection application or other immigration application.
Where an applicant for international protection is deemed to have also made an application on behalf of a dependent child, the applicant is asked at his or her personal interview about any fears that he or she has regarding his or her child. Any issues relating to the child are individually examined and dealt with in the report prepared under Section 39 of the International Protection Act 2015. A recommendation is made in the report in respect of each dependent child being processed with the application of their parent or guardian.
At the end of October 2021, there were 1,278 international protection applications in respect of children (under 18 years) pending at the IPO, of which 51 applications were in respect of unaccompanied minors.
The statistics sought by the Deputy are set out in the attached tables.
Table 1

Year Total number of applications for international protection made in respect of children (including those who arrived with a parent/care provider and those who arrived unaccompanied) - of which unaccompanied minors
2017 838 32
2018 857 19
2019 1089 51
2020 359 29
2021 (to end October) 488 40

Table 2
Year No. of Decisions to Grant International Protection in respect of children (those with a parent/care provided and those unaccompanied
2017 294
2018 392
2019 319
2020 356
2021 (to end October) 229

Table 3
Year of Application Total number of Applications for International Protection
2017- 2021
2017 2,920
2018 3,674
2019 4,781
2020 1,566
2021 (end Oct) 1,808

Table 4
Year of Decision Number of Ministerial Decisions to Grant International Protection
2017 788
2018 1036
2019 1119
2020 1196
2021 (to end October) 779
Question No. 432 answered with Question No. 431. Question No. 433 answered with Question No. 431. Question No. 434 answered with Question No. 431.