International Protection Bill – Please act quickly to contact your TDs and Senators

Posted On: 2 December 2015

We need your help to try to ensure that the first major change in refugee law since 1996 does not get passed without debate and amendment.  You can do this by writing to your TDs and Senators and, if they are on the Justice Committee, asking them to support recommendations for changes in the Bill which you feel strongly about.  But you need to do it this week, otherwise it will be too late. 

The International Protection Bill 2015 was published on Thursday 19th November and will pass through the Seanad this week.  Senators were only given until Monday 30th November to submit amendments but all the indications are that the government wants to push the Bill through quickly without amendments to ensure that it gets little debate and is passed before the Oireachtas closes for its Christmas and new year break on 18th December.

The IRC is not against the proposal to pass the law quickly.  In fact we have long supported new legislation in this field.  The problem is the content of the Bill which does not protect people seeking asylum and it is children and those who have experienced torture and trauma who are most likely to lose out if the Bill is passed without changesIn addition, it says nothing at all about the reception of people in need of protection, even the Justice Committee’s own recommendations from July of this year have been ignored!

The IRC has made detailed recommendations on the Bill which you can draw the attention of your TDs and Senators to and indicate to them that you want their support for some or all of them and ask them to reply to you.

Some of you will have TDs and Senators who not only represent your constituency but are also on the Justice Committee which is the only place where amendments will be considered.  The full list of Justice Committee members and their email addresses are below.

We have linked the IRC’s statement summary of concerns which gives you the background to the changes and also our detailed recommendations.  The latter in particular is technical in detail but it is necessary in order for your TD (and their party if they belong to one) to act quickly to engage with the Bill.

Politicians need to know that even though asylum seekers do not have the right to vote in national elections, many of their constituents do and that this, and the wider refugee crisis, is important to you and that you want them to take your concerns seriously.

Whatever response you get, please let us know so that we can monitor it.  It will help when it comes to work at the time of the General Election in the new year.

If you don’t know who your TDs are, you can find them through this link:

The International Protection Bill 2015_IRC Introductory Statement

IRC Recommendations on International Protection Bill 2015

Press Release: New refugee law could store up problems for the future, says Irish Refugee Council


List of members of the Justice Committee, their party, constituency and email:

Niall Collins TD (FF) County Limerick

Alan Farrell TD (FG) Dublin North

Anne Ferris TD (Lab) Wicklow

Seán Kenny TD (Lab) Dublin North-East

Pádraig Mac Lochlain TD (SF) Donegal North-East

Gabrielle McFadden TD (FG) Longford-Westmeath

Finian McGrath TD (Ind.) Dublin North-Central

Fergus O’Dowd TD (FG) Louth

David Stanton TD (FG) Cork East

Sen. Ivana Bacik (Lab.) University of Dublin

Sen. Martin Conway (FG) Administrative Panel

Sen. Tony Mulcahy (FG) Labour Panel

Sen. Rónán Mullen (Ind.) National University of Ireland

Sen. Denis O’Donovan (FF) Agricultural Panel

Sen. Katherine Zappone (Ind.) Taoiseach’s nominee