Composite; Credit: Gript; Houses of the Oireachts

State hasn’t a clue if those ordered to deport actually leave

Those of you who are confused by the application of the Gormenghastian black card rule in hurling ought probably not spend too much time pondering the deportation process in Ireland.

This has long been a source of mystery to scholars and has more recently come under the spotlight when a serial sex offender was released early on the condition that if it would not be an awful inconvenience to him that he might consider removing himself from the jurisdiction.

Of course, he might just want to hang around for another few years and see whether he has been truly rehabilitated and become a new person. Fr. Flanagan of Boys Town would surely become lachrymose at the touching faith that the Irish courts place in the belief that there really is “no such thing as a bad boy.”

A reply given to Carol Nolan the Rural Independent TD for Laois/Offaly on Tuesday only deepens the mystery surrounding how deportation orders work, or rather are supposed to work.


The first thing that is apparent is that while the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee was happy to supply an exact figure for the number of deportation orders issued since 2011, she states that they really haven’t a notion as to how many of those individuals have actually left the country.

That is because, as was highlighted in the case of Chico Makamda removing themselves from Ireland is left entirely up to the person themselves. Which is surely an absurdity, especially where a deportation order has been attached to a significant remission of sentence. And more particularly, where a pretty definite view was formed that the person represents a danger to the community – in Mr. Makamda’s case to women and girls especially.

Our nearest neighbour takes a rather different approach. Paragraph 362 of the British regulation governing deportations states that: “A deportation order requires the subject to leave the United Kingdom and authorises his detention until he is removed.” The same sort of procedures apply in most other countries that would have a similar legal system to Ireland.

A further twist to all of this – and one that of course favours the person presented with a deportation order – is that the Minister informed Deputy Nolan that there are 3,692 persons currently “in the Section 3 process under the Immigration Act 1999, subject to notification of intention to deport.”

The Department of Justice and its organs here seem content to allow the subject of a deportation order to comply voluntarily and presumably such a person will only come to their attention again if they commit another offence. Which, it is worth pointing out, is a latitude not extended to any other person subject to a court order. If you do not comply with even relatively minor court decisions on something as trivial as a TV license, then they will come after you.

In response to another Dáil question in June 2021, McEntee stated that under Section 3(11) of the 1999 Act that a person under a deportation order can apply to have the order revoked. Is it the case then that the 3,692 persons referred to in her reply to Deputy Nolan on Tuesday represent another tranche of persons to be added to the unknown number of those who will almost certainly be covered by the amnesty for the “undocumented.”?

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