A discussion paper from the Department of Justice said the majority of Irish deportation orders were never carried out.
It said that deportation would never be a direct solution to reducing strain on the immigration system and could only ever act as a “deterrent”.
Figures from the discussion paper show that in the years leading up to the Covid-19 pandemic, only between 15 and 45% of deportation orders were actually carried out.
In 2017 for example, there were 930 deportation orders signed but only 140 – or 15 per cent – of them were actually “effected”.
For 2019, the Minister for Justice signed off on 1,468 separate deportation orders but just 299 of them were executed, a rate of 20 per cent.
The proportion did rise higher during the Covid-19 pandemic, but only because a moratorium on signing deportations was introduced.
The research paper said it had to be acknowledged that deportation was “not always straightforward, that there are no easy decisions, and that some may be painful”.
It said that behind every single removal, there was a human element and also cases of individuals that could not be returned to their country of origin.
The paper said the state had faced “obvious criticisms” over its deportation policy but had generally shown “considerable humanity” in how it had acted.
It said: “In contrast to the views of some commentators, it is a fact that Ireland, despite considerable challenges, seeks to treat migrants in a humane manner.”