Proposed reforms not a cure-all for the problems in the asylum process says Irish Refugee Council

Posted On: April 30, 2012

Monday, 30 April 2012:

Figures released by the Minister for Justice on subsidiary protection and delays in the system indicate that wider reform of the protection system is urgently needed says the Irish Refugee Council (IRC).   The figures show a very low acceptance rate for those claiming subsidiary protection and very long delays from application to decision.  According to written responses to parliamentary questions on the numbers of applicants granted international protection, other than asylum, just 1.9 % of applicants were granted subsidiary protection between 2008 and 2011.  Meanwhile, 3,096 applicants have been in the asylum process for three or more years and 272 people have been waiting for more than seven years.

Sue Conlan, Chief Executive of the IRC says: “The reforms proposed in the most recent version of the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill do not address the wider reasons for Ireland’s exceptionally low rate of acceptance for protection applicants, both for asylum and subsidiary protection.

“The small numbers granted subsidiary protection signal that there is something wrong in the system for considering protection claims that will not be solved by introducing a single protection procedure, in which both asylum and subsidiary protection applications can be considered together.  We need to focus on creating  procedures that enable the applicant and the
decision maker to have a real opportunity to set out thorough and accurate applications at the start of the protection process.  In addition, we need an appeals system that is genuinely independent, robust and transparent.”

The IRC are proposing the introduction of early legal advice for applicants and an appeals mechanism which would reduce the reliance on costly High Court proceedings.

Proposals for reform of the asylum system have been underway for over 10 years.   The most recent version, the IRP Bill 2010, has been set aside and the Minister for Justice has stated that a revised bill will be introduced to the Oireachtas at an early date.  The main reforms proposed for the area of protection are the introduction of a single protection procedure and a revised tribunal which would hear appeals against decisions to refuse asylum and subsidiary protection.  At present, there is no appeal against a refusal to grant subsidiary protection.

“The huge delays in the Irish protection system mean years waiting in limbo for applicants. These delays create huge problems for the people in the system and needless costs for the taxpayers as applicants are not allowed to work and are accommodated by the State in Direct Provision centres.  The Bill will not address the situation of the thousands of people still living in Direct Provision accommodation.”

 

-ENDS-

 

Further  information

Sharon Waters                                     085 8585 510

 

Notes:

Subsidiary Protection Applications 2008 – 2011

YEAR APPLICATIONS GRANTED %
2008 479 7 1.46
2009 680 27 3.9
2010 521 4 0.7
2011 884 13 1.47
TOTAL 2564 51 1.9

 

(Written answer by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to Deputy Clare Daly, Deputy Paschal Donoghue and Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Wednesday, 18 April 2012)

 

Residents of Direct Provision – length of time since application for protection lodged:

Years since application lodged No. of applicants
Less than 1 year 539
1 – 2 years 630
2 – 3 years 770
3 – 4 years 945
4 – 5 years 812
5 – 6 years 670
6 – 7 years 397
More than 7 years 272

 

(Written answer by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Wednesday, 18 April 2012)

 

Cost of Direct Provision

2008 €91.472m
2009 €86.509m
2010 €79.073m
2011 n/a

 

(www.ria.gov.ie)