Nasc disappointed in Minister’s response to Working Group Report

Thu, July 2, 2015

Minister Fitzgerald speaking at the Working Group Report launch 30 June 2015

Minister Fitzgerald speaking at the Working Group Report launch 30 June 2015

Nasc, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre was deeply disappointed in Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald’s comments after the publication of the final report of the Working Group on the Protection Process.

At the launch of the report and in the media following the launch, Minister Fitzgerald failed to commit to implementing any of the key recommendations in the report bar the introduction of the International Protection Bill.

Nasc was a member of the Working Group, which was established by the Minister in the Autumn of 2014 to develop recommendations to make improvements to: the asylum application process, the current ‘direct provision’ reception system, and access to social supports for asylum seekers.

Nasc CEO Fiona Finn comments:

“The Working Group worked extremely hard for over six months to come up with practical, viable and significant improvements to the system that were informed by direct consultations with asylum seekers and agreed by consensus by all members of the Group, including the Justice Department.”

“The recommendations in the report are a ‘package’ which hinges on the introduction of the single procedure. All of the recommendations should be implemented in full to ensure that the improvements to the overall system are not piecemeal. If implemented in full, these recommendations will provide a significant overhaul of the asylum application process and of the reception conditions for asylum seekers.”

“For Minister Fitzgerald to describe those recommendations as ‘food for thought’ instead of announcing a comprehensive implementation plan at the launch of the report is profoundly disappointing. The Minister suggested that ‘further departmental discussion’ was required, despite all of the relevant departments already committing to the recommendations through their work in the Group. ”

“The Minister has an opportunity and an obligation to implement the recommendations of the Working Group, and most especially introduce the International Protection Bill, as soon as possible. Especially if we are seeing an increase in the numbers of people coming to Ireland seeking protection, to ensure that people entering the system are not subject to the same dire situation as the thousands who are currently awaiting years for a decision.”

“People – and especially children – currently in the system and living in direct provision for years on end have waited long enough. There is no other alternative but to urgently implement these comprehensive reforms as soon as possible.”

ENDS.

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