Written Answers - Departmental Staff.

Thursday, 25 November 2004

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 593 No. 3

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  204.  Mr. Perry  Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry   asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform  Information on Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell   if the Offices of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal are two independent statutory agencies, the person who made the decision that 31 staff from the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner should work on a continuous basis in the Office of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal; when this decision was taken; the person who determined that these 31 staff members should be exclusively presenting officers who are directly concerned with the refugee appeal process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30843/04]

  205.  Mr. Perry  Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry   asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform  Information on Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell   his views on whether it is appropriate in the interests of impartiality and justice being seen to be done that staff from the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner, who have already refused applicants for refugee status, should be working in the same building on the same floors, using the same entrances and availing of the same facilities as staff from the Office of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, who are hearing and determining appeals of applicants for refugee status, from the body and agency which had initially refused their applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30844/04]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): Information on Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell  I propose to take Questions Nos. 204 and 205 together.

As I have previously informed the Deputy in my replies to Questions Nos. 1101 and 1108 to 1110, inclusive, of 29 September and also Questions Nos. 362 to 366, inclusive, of 25 May 2004, the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner, ORAC, and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, RAT, are independent statutory offices.

It is solely a matter for the heads of those offices to determine how they organise their accommodation arrangements and assign staff within their respective organisations.

  206.  Mr. Perry  Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry   asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform  Information on Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell   if his attention has been drawn to any other process or situation in the wider justice or legal system whereby the staff and decision makers to whom persons are appealing a decision are working alongside the staff and decision makers who refused their applications in [1004]the first instance; if so the details of such instances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30845/04]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): Information on Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell  I am not aware of any situation where the independence of decision makers, either at first instance or on appeal, has been compromised in the circumstances as described by the Deputy.


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