Refugee Act, 1996

Investigation of applications by Commissioner.

11.—(1) Subject to section 12 , where an application is referred to the Commissioner under section 8 , 16 , 22 or otherwise by the Minister and unless the application is withdrawn or deemed to be withdrawn pursuant to the provisions of section 9 or 22 , as the case may be, it shall be the function of the Commissioner to investigate the application for the purpose of ascertaining whether the applicant is a person in respect of whom a declaration should be given.

(2) In a case to which subsection (1) or section 12 (2) applies, the Commissioner shall, for the purposes of that provision, direct an authorised officer or officers to interview the applicant concerned and the officer or officers shall comply with any such direction and furnish a report in writing in relation to the application concerned to the Commissioner and the report shall refer to the matters raised by the applicant and to such other matters as the officer or officers consider appropriate and an interview under this subsection shall, where necessary and possible, be conducted with the assistance of an interpreter.

(3) The applicant concerned, the High Commissioner or any other person concerned may make representations in writing to the Commissioner in relation to any matter relevant to an investigation by him or her under this section and the Commissioner shall take account of any such representations.

(4) (a) The Commissioner may, for the purposes of his or her functions under this Act, by notice in writing, request the Minister, the Minister for Foreign Affairs or such other persons as may be specified in the notice to make such inquiries and to furnish to him or her such information in his or her possession or control as he or she may reasonably require within such period as shall be specified in the notice.

(b) Following the receipt of a request under subsection (1), the Minister or the Minister for Foreign Affairs, as the case may be, may withhold any information in his or her possession or control in the interest of national security or public policy (“ordre public”).

(5) Nothing in the Data Protection Act, 1988 , shall be construed as prohibiting a person from giving to the Commissioner, on request by him or her, such information as is in the person's possession or control relating to the application.

(6) Subject to subsection (7), the Commissioner shall furnish the applicant concerned with copies of any reports, documents or representations in writing submitted to the Commissioner under this section and an indication in writing of the nature and source of any other information relating to the application which has come to the notice of the Commissioner in the course of an investigation by him or her under this section.

(7) Where information has been supplied to the Commissioner, a Department of State or another branch or office of the public service by or on behalf of the government of another state in accordance with an undertaking (express or implied) that the information would be kept confidential, the information shall not, without the consent of the other state, be produced or further disclosed otherwise than in accordance with the undertaking.

(8) Where an application is referred to the Commissioner under section 8 , 16 or 22 or otherwise by the Minister, the Commissioner shall, without delay, give or cause to be given to the applicant a statement in writing specifying, where possible in a language that he or she understands—

(a) the procedures to be observed in the investigation of applications under this section,

(b) the entitlement of the applicant to consult a solicitor,

(c) the entitlement of the applicant to contact the High Commissioner,

(d) the entitlement of the applicant to make written submissions to the Commissioner,

(e) the duty of the applicant to co-operate with the Commissioner and to furnish information relevant to his or her application, and

(f) the obligation of the applicant to notify the Commissioner of his or her address in the State.