Irish Refugee Council welcomes commitments on reform

Posted On: 22 September 2011

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The Irish Refugee Council (IRC) welcomes commitments in both Fine Gael’s and the Labour Party’s manifestos to a reform of asylum and immigration laws, including an independent immigration appeals mechanism. 

Sue Conlan, Chief Executive of the IRC, says: “Reform of the asylum and immigration laws is long overdue in Ireland and people are suffering in a system that does not work.  An independent appeals mechanism will provide those refused permission to enter or remain in Ireland with the opportunity to have their applications independently assessed and reduce the need for people to rely on the refugee system.  It will go a long way towards improving the transparency and efficiency of the process both for decision makers and for migrants and refugees.”

The IRC also welcome commitments to review and replace Direct Provision from the Green Party.  The Labour Party unanimously voted to abolish direct provision at their 2010 conference and Fine Gael has previously called for a review of the system.

“The Direct Provision system has a high financial and human cost.   It forces asylum seekers, including many families, to live for years in hostel-style accommodation, not allowed to work or study and with very little opportunity for independence and integration.  It leads to asylum seekers becoming de-skilled, demoralised and in many cases severely depressed, as well as being costly to the State.  The IRC strongly urge the incoming government to review this system as a matter of priority,” adds Sue Conlan.

IRC are asking all parties and candidates to sign up to their online Asylum Reform Pledge at   The majority of those who have signed the pledge are candidates for the Green Party and Labour.  You can view the signatories at




  • How the parties fare:
Fianna Fail –       Seek to maximise the number of overseas visitors through competitive

airport and port charges, competitive and tourist-friendly immigration and visa arrangements.


Fine Gael –          Reform the immigration system.

–          Establish an independent appeals mechanism.

–          Extend court sittings to reduce the length of asylum lists.

Green Party –          Replace direct provision with a more humane system.

–          Protect funding for English language classes.

–          Introduce cultural sensitivity training for relevant public sector officials.

Labour –          Enact comprehensive & transparent legislation designed to streamline and accelerate the administrative process.

–          Introduce an independent appeals process.

–          Promote policies for integration of minority communities.

Sinn Fein –          Commit to a fully independent and transparent Immigration Appeals Tribunal.

–          Ensure Irish citizens have family reunification rights equal to thos of other EU citizens in Ireland.

Socialist Party –          Stand for the right to asylum and the scrapping of racist anti-asylum and immigration laws.

–          Stand for the right to work, with full protection, for immigrant workers.