Catherine McGuinness launches roadmap for a transparent, fair and cost-effective asylum system

Posted On: 7 September 2011

Mrs. Justice Catherine McGuiness launched the Irish Refugee Council’s roadmap for reform of the asylum system in Dublin today (13/9/11). ‘Roadmap for Asylum Reform’ sets out how efficiency and fairness could be injected into the asylum and protection systems by introducing a single protection system, investing in early legal advice and creating a new appeals body that could deal with both protection and immigration cases. 

Catherine McGuinness says: “For many years, I have watched with concern how the lack of fair procedures and transparency, especially in the appeals process, has meant that justice has not always been done within the asylum process.  The proposals contained in this document would lead to more sustainable and just decisions.  This means that decisions would not be subject to costly challenges and the burden on the courts would be reduced.”

The Irish Refugee Council (IRC) claims that the current protection system bears an unnecessary human and financial cost.  The proposals in ‘Roadmap for Asylum Reform’ are targeted at ending the misery and needless waste of public funds inherent in the current system.

 Sue Conlan, Chief Executive of the IRC says: “Following best practice in other countries, we propose investing in legal assistance and representation at the initial decision-making stage.  By ensuring that all the relevant information is placed before the decision-maker at the earliest opportunity, the number of challenges to decisions and therefore, the overall costs in legal aid, legal fees and in providing accommodation for those claiming asylum would be reduced.”    

The IRC also proposes a new appeals body that would have jurisdiction to hear appeals on both protection and immigration matters.   This would replace the current Refugee Appeals Tribunal and fulfil the commitment in the Programme for Government to create a statutory appeals mechanism to deal with immigration decisions.  According to the IRC, the current appeals body does not represent an effective remedy.

 “The appeals system proposed in the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2010 bears little difference to the current Tribunal and fails to introduce the checks and balances needed to create an effective remedy.  Independent appointment of Tribunal members, clear procedural rules and the publication of Tribunal decisions are key to an effective appeals body,” says Sue Conlan.

The Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill is due to come before the Justice Committee in the new Dáil term.



Further information:

Sharon Waters                                  085 8585 510                              


  • The Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2010 was at Committee Stage when the last Dáil was dissolved.  In July 2011, Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter TD, announced that the Bill would be returned to Committee Stage in the autumn with over 300 amendments.
  • Programme for National Government 2011:

               Passports, Citizenship, Immigration and Asylum

  “We will introduce comprehensive reforms of the immigration, residency and asylum systems, which will include a statutory appeals system and set out rights and obligations in a transparent way. We will provide for the efficient processing and determination of citizenship applications within a reasonable time.”