The number of asylum applications received by the Department of Justice in 2009 fell by 35% when compared with 2008. But funding for the asylum and immigration service during the same period was up by 16%.
Fine Gael Immigration and Integration spokesman Denis Naughten said, "We need a determined approach to deal with the present mess and I’m calling on the minister for justice to prioritise this area in the interests of the taxpayer. By streamlining the existing asylum system, treating people with dignity and in a timely manner, we could save the taxpayer a small fortune."
Mr Naughten said, "The additional costs associated with asylum accommodation in 2009 ran at €50,000 a day more than originally projected; this is on top of a cost over-run in 2008 of €40,000 a day".