Belfast Telegraph

Republic of Ireland banned 226 people from predominantly Muslim countries subject to Donald Trump's travel ban

By Gordon Deegan and AP

The Republic of Ireland last year refused entry to 226 individuals from the predominantly Muslim countries that are the subject of President Donald Trump's executive order banning entry to the US to individuals from those countries.

That is according to figures provided by Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald that confirm the largest cohort refused 'leave to land' at the country's ports of entry were from Somalia, currently battling an Islamic militant insurgency and a looming famine.

The figures show that last year, 53 Somalians were refused leave to land, while 37 from war-torn Syria were also refused leave to land.

An additional 46 Iranians were refused entry by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, while 26 Iraqis and 47 Sudanese were also refused entry.

The figures provided by the Tánaiste in a written Dáil response to deputies Thomas Pringle and Richard Boyd Barrett show that 10 Libyans were refused 'leave to land' along with seven Yemenis in 2016.

The Tánaiste said that in respect of those seven nationalities refused leave to land, "a total of 53 sought asylum and were admitted to the State to make a protection application".

"Information on numbers refused permission to enter the State may be subject to revision over time where individual cases are examined further and the status of some cases may change," she said.

CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, Nick Henderson said: "It is a cause for concern to see these numbers. A considerable number of people from refugee producing countries were refused leave to land in Ireland."

Meanwhile a defiant President Trump has vowed to fight an appeal court decision refusing to reinstate his ban on travellers from seven Muslim-majority nations, tweeting: "SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!"

The San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected the administration's claim of presidential authority and questioned its motives and concluded that the order was unlikely to survive legal challenges.

The appeal court's panel of three judges refused to block a lower-court ruling that suspended the ban and allowed previously barred travellers to enter the US.

It said the argument that the ban targets Muslims raised "serious allegations" and presented "significant constitutional questions", and agreed that courts could consider statements by Mr Trump and his advisers about wishing to enact such a ban.

The court battle is far from over, with an appeal to the US Supreme Court likely.

That could put the decision in the hands of a divided court that has a vacancy because Mr Trump's nominee, Neil Gorsuch, could not be confirmed in time to take part in any consideration of the ban, which was set to expire in 90 days unless it is changed.

The appellate judges noted compelling public interests on both sides.

"On the one hand, the public has a powerful interest in national security and in the ability of an elected president to enact policies," they said.

"And on the other, the public also has an interest in free flow of travel, in avoiding separation of families, and in freedom from discrimination."

The Justice Department said it was "reviewing the decision and considering its options".

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