The number of applications pending at the International Protection Office (IPO) at the end of December 2022 was 14,103.

There were a total of 839 appeals pending with the IPAT (International Protection Appeals Tribunal) as at 31 December 2022.

The figures from the Department of Justice were furnished to the Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín's office through a Parliamentary Question (PQ).

The PQ notes that in 2022 the number of people claiming international protection increased significantly, with 13,651 applications made with the IPO.

It says this was a 186% increase on the same period in 2019, the last year in which application numbers were not impacted by Covid-19.

The response says that the IPO has been able to increase the number of first instance recommendations and permission to remain decisions by 44% on 2019, due to "the introduction of new efficiency measures during 2022".

The median processing time for all international protection cases (which includes decisions on permission to remain) and processed to completion by the IPO in Quarter 4 of 2022 was ten months for all cases.

The median processing time for cases processed to completion for all of 2022 was 18 months.

The PQ to Deputy Tóibín says that the longest application processing time for 2022 was 170 months. This means that the first instance determination was issued in 2022, but 170 months after initial application.

The Minister for Justice notes that unusually long processing times for individual applications such as this are often attributable to circumstances outside of the control of the IPO.

"The reasons for such extended delays in processing can include an applicant who may have an ongoing Judicial Review, certain applicants may be uncontactable or missing including children with separate applications where a parent has already received a decision, and some applicants may not be co-operating with the application process itself," the minister said.

92% of cases decided in 2022 were processed in three years or less and 62% of cases decided in 2022 were processed in two years or less.

The Minister for Justice said his department's overall objective was to have decisions made on applications from people seeking international protection as quickly as possible to ensure that those who are found to be in need of protection in Ireland can receive it quickly and begin rebuilding their lives with a sense of safety and security.