Consensus on the need for real change in asylum system

Posted On: 19 September 2014

MEDIA STATEMENT, 19 September 2014

The Irish Refugee Council and Doras Luimni, as NGOs actively engaged in direct work with and for asylum seekers, welcome the proactive approach of Minister of Justice, Frances Fitzgerald TD, and Junior Minister, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, to a comprehensive review of the international protection process.  At a roundtable discussion convened by the Minister on 18th September, a variety of NGOs, both regional and national, were invited to outline their concerns and their proposals for the terms of reference for the Working Group to be established in the near future.

Sue Conlan, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, said:  “We accept that a real attempt is being made by the Ministers and officials in the Department of Justice to both introduce legislative changes that will bring protection law in Ireland in line with other EU countries but also that they are actively seeking ways to draw a line under a system that has led to severe delays to the detriment of people seeking protection.”

The heads of a new International Protection Bill are expected to be published in the near future and an appointment of an independent Chair of the Working Group appointed with NGOs invited to participate, possibly through thematic groups.

Karen McHugh, CEO of Doras Luimní, said “We appreciate that the experience of NGOs will play a part in the deliberations of the Working Group.  As organisations on the ground with regular contact with asylum seekers, we are well aware of the issues and can ensure that lessons learnt from the past help to inform a new protection system.”

Stephen Ng’ang’a, co-ordinator of a group of asylum seekers and refugees which works with the Irish refugee Council, and who spoke at the Roundtable, said: “It is vital that the voice of asylum seekers is heard during this process.  We are the ones who know the reality of the system as we have lived through it.  We welcome the indication that we will have a chance to contribute to the debate, and hope that others in the system will also have an opportunity to be heard.”

Conlan continued, “All those with an interest in genuine reform of the international protection process are engaged in bringing about real change as quickly as possible.  That will take some time but the intention is to get people moved on and out of the asylum system as it is now as soon as possible.”




Sue Conlan 085 803 0114

Karen McHugh 087 979 4079

Notes to the editor:

Over 19 NGOs attended the roundtable: