Nasc and UCC’s Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights host conference on direct provision alternatives

Wed, April 25, 2018

Nasc, the Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre, in conjunction with the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights (CCJHR) at University College Cork’s School of Law are hosting an important conference looking at the future of asylum reception in Ireland.  The conference will be held this Wednesday 25th April 2018, from 9am – 2pm in Lecture Theatre 107, Western Gateway Building, UCC.

The conference, titled “Beyond McMahon – the future of asylum reception in Ireland”, will examine the Irish asylum reception system (‘direct provision’) and explore potential alternatives, three years on from the publication of the McMahon Report of the Working Group on the Protection Process and Direct Provision.  A copy of the full Conference Programme is available here.

Dr. Bryan McMahon, who chaired the Working Group in 2014-2015, will provide the Keynote Address. The conference will also include important input from the heads of the Scottish and Portuguese Refugee Councils, Mr. Sabir Zazai and Mrs. Teresa Mendes respectively, as well as Eugene Banks, Principal Officer in charge of the Reception and Integration Agency, which oversees the direct provision system.

Other contributors include: Enda O’Neill, Head of Office at UNHCR; Stephen Ng’ang’a, Core Group of Asylum Seekers; Luke Hamilton, Irish Refugee Council; Lucky Khambule, Movement of Asylum Seekers Ireland; Dr. Liam Thornton, Lecturer, UCD School of Law; Adedeola Akinbote and Adebola Babalola, two current residents in direct provision; and Fiona Hurley, Legal Services Manager at Nasc.  In addition, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Emily Logan will be moderating a panel discussion on the future of asylum reception.

Nasc CEO Fiona Finn comments:

“The Government committed to implement the recommendations from the McMahon Report and improve the protection process and direct provision. However, three years on and there are significant backlogs in the process and very little has changed for asylum seekers.  It is essential that we look beyond direct provision and start to imagine what a truly respectful and humane protection and reception system could look like. This conference is a critical first step in that process.”

Dr. Dug Cubie, Deputy Director of UCC’s Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights comments:

“As a newly recognised University of Sanctuary, we are delighted to welcome this truly illustrious line up of speakers coming from a range of perspectives to discuss alternatives to the current system. It will be incredibly useful to hear from Mr. Zazai and Mrs. Mendes how asylum reception works in Scotland and Portugal, and what we can learn from other European contexts.  It is also a great opportunity for our students to take part in this conversation, and learn how academia can support advocacy.”

IHREC Chief Commissioner Ms. Emily Logan notes:

“This is a very important and timely conference, especially given the numbers of people displaced globally, and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is delighted to support and take part in this discussion.”

The conference is funded through the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Human Rights and Equality Grant Scheme.


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