Fifteen unaccompanied children coming into Ireland have been granted international protection so far this year.

Last year, 11 children were granted protection.

Figures obtained by RTÉ News show that 105 children have arrived in Ireland without a parent or guardian so far this year seeking asylum status.

None of these children has yet been granted either refugee status or subsidiary protection.

In relation to children who could be subject to a deportation order if their application for international protection fails, the Department of Justice said records were not maintained for such figures.

"Records are not maintained in a manner as will allow the figures for unaccompanied minors deported in any given year to be disaggregated from the figures for all minors (i.e. minors accompanied by family) deported in that year."

However, it adds that people are never deported from Ireland in circumstances where doing this would place the person at serious risk of harm.

According to the child and family agency Tusla, which is responsible for any child arriving into Ireland without parents or guardians, those arriving are on average aged between 15 and 17 and are mostly male.

The child welfare body said unaccompanied children travelling to Ireland were predominantly from countries such as Afghanistan, Syria, Eritrea, Iraq and Albania.

Tusla said that unaccompanied children who have been granted protection have access to integration supports including aftercare. But it said very few are awarded such status, which Tusla attributes to, in part, delays in making applications.

In relation to the length of time children are spending in the asylum process, the Department of Justice said priority applicants are currently scheduled for interview within four months of their application date. 

A report published last week by the European Migration Network says that many of the unaccompanied minors wait years for clarity on whether they are legally entitled to remain.

The authors blamed some of the delays on Tusla social workers who say they fear that if they apply to the authorities on the children's behalf, a negative decision would lead to the child absconding from foster care.