Minister for Justice Simon Harris has confirmed that immigration officials within his Department are engaging with 19 separate airlines to ‘underscore the importance of passengers possessing correct documentation and to provide support in helping them to reduce the number of passengers boarding flights without the correct documentation.’
The Minister was responding to a parliamentary question from the Independent TD for Laois Offaly Carol Nolan.
Deputy Nolan asked Minister Harris if his attention has been drawn to reports that over 5,000 persons arrived at Dublin Airport in 2022 without valid documentation or with no documentation at all; if he agrees that this constitutes an egregious abuse of the immigration process and the steps he will take to combat this phenomenon.
In his reply the Minister said, “I can assure the Deputy that I am familiar with the figures referred to and that the matter is the subject of close attention.”
He also noted that his Department’s Border Management Unit and the Garda National Immigration Bureau are working closely with airlines on a range of measures to ensure that passengers have such documentation when boarding.
He did not specify what these measures entail.
Minister Harris further noted by way of background “that under Section 11 of the Immigration Act 2004, any person entering the State at Dublin Airport or at any other port of entry, must be in possession of a valid passport or other equivalent document, issued by or on behalf of an authority recognised by the Government, which establishes his or her identity and nationality to the satisfaction of an Immigration Officer.”
“If a person indicates or is identified as being in need of international protection they are admitted to the international protection process.”
The Minister concluded his reply to Deputy Nolan by stating that “the establishment of a person’s identity and nationality is an important feature of our immigration process. This is especially important in the context of persons who enter the Irish State for the purposes of making a claim for international protection.”
The Independent TD said she is has submitted additional parliamentary questions seeking clarification on the names of the 19 airlines and the preventative measures that have been agreed with them to reduce the number of people who enter the state without valid documentation.