Refugee Act, 1996

Applications for declaration.

8.—(1) (a) A person who arrives at the frontiers of the State seeking asylum in the State or seeking the protection of the State against persecution or requesting not to be returned or removed to a particular country or otherwise indicating an unwillingness to leave the State for fear of persecution—

(i) shall be interviewed by an immigration officer as soon as practicable after such arrival, and

(ii) may apply to the Minister for a declaration.

(b) The immigration officer concerned shall inform a person referred to in paragraph (a), where possible in a language that the person understands, that he or she may apply under that paragraph for a declaration and that he or she is entitled to consult a solicitor and the High Commissioner.

(c) A person who at any time is in the State (whether lawfully or unlawfully) and is seeking the status of a refugee in the State may apply to the Minister for a declaration and, if he or she does so, shall, as soon as practicable, be required by notice in writing to attend for interview with an immigration officer at such time and place as the Minister may specify in the notice and the notice shall state that the person is entitled to consult a solicitor and the High Commissioner.

(2) An interview under subsection (1) shall, where necessary and possible, be conducted with the assistance of an interpreter and a record of the interview shall be kept by the immigration officer conducting the interview and a copy thereof shall be furnished to the person concerned, the High Commissioner and the Commissioner.

(3) Subject to the provisions of sections 9 and 22 , the Minister shall cause an application for a declaration to be referred to the Commissioner and a notification thereof to be given to the High Commissioner.

(4) An application under subsection (1) shall be made in writing in the prescribed form or in a form to the like effect.

(5) (a) Where it appears to an immigration officer that a child under the age of 18 years who has arrived at the frontiers of the State is not in the custody of any person, the immigration officer shall, as soon as practicable, so inform the health board in whose functional area the place of arrival is situate and thereupon the provisions of the Child Care Act, 1991 , shall apply in relation to the child.

(b) Where it appears to the health board concerned, on the basis of information available to it, that an application for a declaration should be made by or on behalf of a child referred to in paragraph (a), the health board shall arrange for the appointment of an officer of the health board or such other person as it may determine to make an application on behalf of the child.

(c) Any costs incurred by a person under paragraph (b) other than any legal costs arising from such application shall be paid by the health board concerned.

(d) The functions of a health board under paragraph (b) shall be functions of the chief executive officer of the board or a person acting as deputy chief executive officer of the board in accordance with section 13 of the Health Act, 1970 .

(6) For the purposes of this Act, a person who travels by sea or air from outside the State and lands in the State shall be deemed to arrive at the frontiers of the State.