Reform of asylum system urged
A group of TDs and councillors has called on the Department of Justice to reform the asylum process and reverse a decision to deport a Guinean asylum seeker.
People Before Profit Alliance TD Richard Boyd Barrett said humanity needed to be brought to bear on the asylum process.
He was speaking at a press conference in Dublin during which the "Let Alpha Stay" campaign urged the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to overturn the decision to deport Alpha Gassama, an asylum seeker who has lived in Ireland for eight years.
Mr Boyd Barrett said Mr Gassama “has contributed very substantially to Irish society and his local community…and it would be a tragedy if he was deported.
“It is inhuman to forcibly deport someone who has lived here for that long and has developed roots and connections in Irish society,” he said.
Many asylum seekers living in direct provision hostels endure appalling conditions and are “under the radar” of society, he added.
Labour TD Robert Dowds, who represents Mr Gassama’s local Clondalkin area, said Mr Gassama has “been very involved in our community on the ground”.
Mr Dowds said he has written to Mr Shatter and intends to speak to him on the matter as soon as possible.
He called for a more efficient asylum assessment process. “The sooner asylum cases can be dealt with the better,” he said.
Mr Gassama, who would become the first Guinean national to be deported from Ireland, said his political stance would put him at risk of torture or death if he returned to Guinea.
He has worked as a volunteer with a number of asylum outreach groups during his time in Ireland.