Sunday, September 21, 2008

Refugee numbers fall off while 900 failed applicants vanish

UP TO 900 failed asylum seekers have vanished in Ireland in the past two years, the first official figures from the gardaí have revealed.

Despite a large fall in the numbers of would-be refugees coming to Ireland, the numbers vanishing from the asylum process is rising.

The total number of illegal asylum seekers in the country who have been declined refugee status remains a mystery. Senior garda sources have estimated it could be anywhere between 6,000 to 7,000 people who have fallen through the cracks over the past decade. Many have left for other EU states such as the UK.

"These are people who we have lost track of. They have opted out of the asylum system and are not claiming any state benefits," a senior garda said. "The potential for them to be taken advantage of or vice versa is a real issue."

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