The Irish Refugee Council (IRC) welcomes the opportunity to provide comments on the General Scheme of the International Protection Bill and calls upon the Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality to review the Bill with the aim of creating a fair, efficient and protection sensitive asylum procedure which reflects the right to asylum as guaranteed under Article 18 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The IRC welcomes the long overdue establishment of a single protection. However, such a procedure will not solve all the issues in the current system. In particular, it is vital that: firstly, that the independent Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner is maintained and not subsumed into the Department of Justice; secondly, that the single protection procedure provides for proper consideration and support of issues that give rise to Ireland’s obligations under other conventions such as the European Convention on Human Rights, with a right of appeal against refusal to the Protection Review Tribunal; thirdly, that the Bill also provides a legal framework for reception conditions which are an inherent part of any protection procedure.

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