184. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Justice the reason a person (details supplied) was refused permission to remain in the State; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35500/20]


Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): The person concerned has been informed by letter that there has been a negative international protection decision in relation to their case and that they no longer have permission to remain in the State. Before making this decision, a detailed consideration will have been carried out of all aspects of the person’s case, including their private and family rights in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights as well as consideration of their work situation, among other issues.
They are required to confirm within five days if they will accept the option of voluntary return, for which my Department will provide assistance. If they do not confirm that they will leave voluntarily, a deportation order will be made against them.
The five day timeline is set down in primary legislation so must be adhered to in official correspondence. However, I understand a pragmatic approach is taken and, to be clear, the person is not required to remove themselves from the State within five days – they are required to indicate an intention to do so. Obviously, the time taken for voluntary return arrangements to be made will take into account all factors, including Covid-19 based restrictions and the limitations to travel this has created. I have asked my officials to review the process of issuing such letters during Level 5 restrictions.
As the Deputy may be aware, the Report of the Advisory Group on the Provision of Support including Accommodation to Persons in the International Protection Process has recommended that the five day period for deciding whether to exercise the voluntary return option should be extended to 30 days and that children and students be allowed to finish the school year before departure. This, along with all other recommendations relevant to the work of my Department, will be actively considered by a Programme Board I have established for this purpose. Their work will feed into the development of the White Paper by the end of this year, in line with the Programme for Government commitment.
If a Deportation Order is subsequently made, Section 3 (11) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) allows an Order to be amended or revoked by making a request to me as Minister for Justice. I encourage people to be as detailed as possible in their representations so that we can make fully informed decisions at the appropriate time.