Ireland has made ‘significant progress’ in implementing asylum recommendations

 Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald

Ireland has made “significant progress” in implementing improvements to Ireland’s asylum process, including direct provision, as recommended by a working group last year.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said there had been “significant progress in the past 11 months”, with 80 per cent of 173 recommendations “implemented, partially implemented or in progress”.

A total of 91 recommendations have been implemented while a further 49 have been partially implemented or in progress and the remainder are under consideration.

Welcoming the progress made since the report, Ms Fitzgerald said: “A key recommendation of the Working Group was the introduction of a single application procedure for the protection process.

“The International Protection Act 2015, which provides for such a procedure, was signed into law last December and my Department is currently preparing all steps necessary to commence the Act later this year.

“The Act responds to 26 of the Working Group’s recommendations and can be expected to positively address the crucial issue of the length of time that applicants spend in the process and in the Direct Provision system; another key concern of the Working Group.

“A substantial number of people who were greater than five years in the system now dealt with and is estimated that over two thirds of those identified in the Report as being over 5 years in the Direct Provision system have now had their cases processed to completion. This has been a key achievement that has had a real impact on many people and families. This work will continue.”

Ms Fitzgerald said legislative amendments to extend the remit of the Offices of the Ombudsman and the Ombudsman for Children to include access for residents in Direct Provision centres will “be processed as soon as possible”.

Emily Logan, chief commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission
Emily Logan, chief commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

Emily Logan, chief commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, said: “Dr Bryan McMahon, retired High Court judge and members of the Working Group brought considerable expertise and insight to this report on direct provision and the protection process. The Working Group delivered a practical report to Government and it is important that the Government implement its recommendations in full.

“We recommend the Government now move to ensure the remaining measures to give effect to the recommendations are implemented so that people seeking asylum in Ireland can live with a greater degree of respect and dignity.

“We look forward to engaging with the Tánaiste and Minister Stanton to clarify aspects of the implementation process, and to discuss further human rights and equality issues.”