Refugee Act 1996
F34 [ Prioritisation of applications.
12. — (1) Subject to the need for fairness and efficiency in dealing with applications for a declaration under this Act, the Minister may, where he or she considers it necessary or expedient to do so, give a direction in writing to the Commissioner or the Tribunal or to both requiring either or both of them, as the case may be, to accord priority to certain classes of applications determined by reference to one or more of the following matters:
( a ) the grounds of applications under section 8,
( b ) the country of origin or habitual residence of applicants,
( c ) any family relationship between applicants,
( d ) the ages of applicants and, in particular, of persons under the age of 18 years in respect of whom applications are made,
( e ) the dates on which applications were made,
( f ) considerations of national security or public policy,
( g ) the likelihood that the applications are well-founded,
( h ) if there are special circumstances regarding the welfare of applicants or the welfare of family members of applicants,
( i ) whether applications do not show on their face grounds for the contention that the applicant is a refugee,
( j ) whether applicants have made false or misleading representations in relation to their applications,
( k ) whether applicants had lodged prior applications for asylum in another country,
( l ) whether applications under section 8 were made at the earliest opportunity after arrival in the State,
( m ) whether applicants are nationals of or have a right of residence in a country of origin designated as safe under this section,
( n ) if an applicant is a person to whom paragraph ( a ), ( b ) or ( c ) of section 2 applies.
(2) The Commissioner or the Tribunal shall comply with a direction given to him, her or it under this section.
(3) The Minister may be a direction revoke or alter a direction given by him or her under subsection (1).
F35 [ (4)( a ) The Minister may, by order made after consultation with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, designate a country as a safe country of origin.
( b ) The Minister may make an order under paragraph ( a ) only if he or she is satisfied that, on the basis of the legal situation, the application of the law within a democratic system and the general political circumstances, it can be shown that, in the country concerned, there is generally and consistently no persecution, construed in accordance with section 2 and Regulation 9 of the Regulations of 2006, no torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and no threat by reason of indiscriminate violence in situations of international or internal armed conflict.
( c ) In making the assessment referred to in paragraph ( b ), the Minister shall take account of, among other things, the extent to which protection against persecution or mistreatment is provided in the country concerned by —
(i) the relevant laws and regulations of the country and the manner in which they are applied,
(ii) observance of the rights and freedoms laid down in the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture, in particular the rights from which derogation cannot be made under Article 15(2) of the European Convention on Human Rights,
(iii) respect of the non-refoulement principle according to the Geneva Convention, and
(iv) provision for a system of effective remedies against violations of these rights and freedoms.
( d ) The determination as to whether an order under paragraph ( a ) should be made in relation to a particular country shall be based on, among other things, available information from other Member States, the High Commissioner, the Council of Europe and other relevant international organisations.
( e ) Where the Minister considers it appropriate, he or she shall, in consultation with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, review a designation under paragraph ( a ) having regard to the matters specified in paragraphs ( b ) to ( d ).
( f ) The Minister shall notify the European Commission of the making, amendment or revocation of an order under paragraph ( a ). ]
(5) In this section —
‘ the Convention against Torture ’ means the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment adopted by resolution 39/46 of the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 December 1984;
F36 [ ‘ country ’ includes part of a country; ]
‘ the European Convention on Human Rights ’ means the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms done at Rome on the 4th day of November, 1950;
‘ the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ’ means the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights adopted by Resolution 2200A (XXI) of the General Assembly of the United Nations on 16 December 1966. ]
Substituted (15.09.2003) by Immigration Act 2003 (26/2003), s. 7(g), S.I. No. 415 of 2003.
Substituted (1.03.2011) by European Communities (Asylum Procedures) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 51 of 2011), reg. 5(a), in effect as per reg. 1(2).
Inserted (1.03.2011) by European Communities (Asylum Procedures) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 51 of 2011), reg. 5(b), in effect as per reg. 1(2).
Power pursuant to subs. (4)(a) exercised (9.12.2004) by Refugee Act 1996 (Safe Countries of Origin) Order 2004 (S.I. No. 714 of 2004), in effect as per art. 1(2).
Power pursuant to subs. (4)(a) exercised (15.09.2003) by Refugee Act 1996 (Safe Countries of Origin) Order 2003 (S.I. No. 422 of 2003), in effect as per art. 1(2).
Previous affecting provisions: section amended (20.01.2000) by Immigration Act 1999 (22/1999), s. 11(1)(h), S.I. No. 9 of 2000; substituted as per F-note above.