Reforms to the Asylum System in the Pipe-Line

Brophy Solicitors welcomes the new proposals to improve the asylum system in Ireland.

On 9th April 2015 the Irish Times reported on proposals drawn up by a Working Group in relation to the asylum system in Ireland. The working group was established by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Junior Minister Aodhán Ó’Ríordáin in October 2014 “to report to Government on improvements to the protection process, including Direct Provision and supports to asylum seekers.”

The group, chaired by retired High Court Judge Bryan McMahon, includes representatives from a number of relevant NGOs and the Department of Justice. A full report is due to be presented to Government shortly.

The Irish Times reported sources revealing that the working group is due to make recommendations that asylum seekers who have been in the system for over five years should be entitled to a fast-tracked decision making process within six months. It is thought that the introduction of this measure could benefit up to 1,500 individuals.
Other proposals which are expected to be published include extending access to third level education on the same basis as Irish students to young asylum seekers who have been resident in the State for five years.

While it looks like there will be an increase in the weekly allowance paid to asylum seekers, the prohibition on such individuals entering paid employment looks likely to continue, amid fears this may entitle them to unemployment benefit.

The Government Working Group has been marred with some controversy, after the Irish Refugee Council resigned from the group claiming that the Government had published heads of a related bill without allowing the working group to discuss them. Sue Conlon, chief executive of the IRC, said she believed the Department of Justice were attempting to control the path reform of the system would take. Another NGO, Doras Luimni, also expressed reservations about the level of input the working group was being permitted by Government.

Irish Times article available here.


Brophy Solicitors

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