388. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice her plans to grant a blanket amnesty to front-line essential workers going through the immigration process and living in direct provision in order that they have leave to remain in Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32569/21]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy James Browne): Firstly, let me assure the Deputy that my Department has taken a pragmatic and compassionate approach to immigration and international protection arrangements in the context of COVID-19 and will continue to do so for as long as is necessary.
Furthermore, I fully acknowledge the important contribution that migrants have made to health and social care and other essential services in Ireland during the pandemic and beyond. I also recognise and acknowledge the crucial role front-line workers are continuing to play in responding to the threat of COVID-19. They work in a challenging environment and deal with vulnerable people on a daily basis. Their exceptional commitment has been particularly clear throughout the pandemic, during which they have been playing a key role in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
For those who are in the international protection process, our objective is to have decisions made on their applications, including the permission to remain consideration, as soon as possible. This ensures that those who are found to be in need of our protection can receive it quickly and begin rebuilding their lives here with a sense of safety and security.
In the context of the permission to remain element of the process, each case is given a detailed consideration on its individual merits under all of the prescribed headings, which includes a full consideration of their private and family rights in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights, among other issues, before a decision is taken to grant or to refuse permission to remain.
I can also advise the Deputy that the issuing of letters recommending the refusal of international protection and permission to remain have been suspended since December and for the duration of Level 5 restrictions. The question of recommencing issuing these decisions will be kept under review in the coming weeks as the situation regarding international travel eases.
The same position also applies to the making and service of deportation orders, with the exception of some very limited circumstances in cases where an individual may be a threat to national security or whose presence in Ireland would be contrary to the public interest.
Finally, I can advise the Deputy that in cases where a Deportation Order has been made, section 3(11) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) provides a mechanism under which a person subject to a Deportation Order can make a formal request to have that order revoked. Any such request, however, will need to be founded on new information or materially changed circumstances which have arisen since the decision to make the Deportation Order was taken. Any request made will be considered on its individual merits.