Press Release: Nasc welcomes renewed government commitment to reform of direct provision

Tue, August 12, 2014

Minister Frances Fitzgerald was quoted in the Irish Times today (‘Government to review conditions for asylum seekers’, 12 August 2014) reiterating the Government’s recent commitment to reviewing the direct provision system which houses asylum seekers while they wait for their applications to be processed.

In her statement, Minister Fitzgerald committed to establishing a working group next month which would look at issues including the payments asylum seekers receive, restrictions to third level education and supports for children. The Minister also committed to introducing the Single Procedure Mechanism, which will be separated from the dormant Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill and “fast-tracked” ‘mid-way through next year’.

Nasc CEO Fiona Finn comments:

“We welcome this renewed commitment by the Minister to review direct provision and the clarification she provides on what measures the government will be taking. As an NGO campaigning in this area for many years, we look forward to an opportunity to input into the Working Group on the urgent problems with direct provision that need to be addressed.”

“However, we remain concerned about the scope of the review. There are significant legal and human rights issues with the direct provision system that have been raised over the years by ourselves and other direct provision campaigners – most notably Dr. Liam Thornton of UCD – that cannot be ignored. Direct provision does not operate on a legislative basis; RIA is not on any statutory footing; there is no independent complaints system in place for residents.”

“The Minister initially proposed a review of the system while at the same time Counsel for the State was stoutly defending the system before the High Court ,” Ms. Finn continues.

“Reform of the system must not be piecemeal and must not result in a continuation of the system in the form of ‘direct provision lite’. A humanitarian and effective model for the reception of asylum seekers lies right on our doorstep in the form of the EU Receptions Directive. The Working Group should be looking to this model in reforming direct provision and calling on the government to immediately opt in to this Directive and the reformed Common European Asylum System.”

ENDS.

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