Asylum seeker has no right to work

Court of Appeal rules two to one against Burmese man awaiting decision on refugee status

Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan:   rejected as “too broad a proposition” that non-Irish citizens enjoy the same general rights as Irish citizens. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan: rejected as “too broad a proposition” that non-Irish citizens enjoy the same general rights as Irish citizens. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

 

A Burmese man awaiting a decision on his bid for refugee status does not have a personal right under the Constitution to work in Ireland, the Court of Appeal has ruled by a two-to-one majority.

Having lived in direct provision since 2008 with a €19 a week allowance, the man said he had suffered “almost complete loss of autonomy” and depression and it was vital to his development, personal dignity and self-worth that he be allowed to work.

The majority appeal court – Mr Justice Seán Ryan and Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan – disagreed with Mr Justice Gerard Hogan that the man had a personal right, under article 40.3 of the Constitution, to work here which was unconstitutionally breached by section 9.4.b of the Refugee Act.

Section 9.4.b requires an asylum application must first be dealt with before an applicant can seek employment.

Ms Justice Finlay Geoghegan rejected as “too broad a proposition” that non-Irish citizens enjoy the same general rights as Irish citizens. She said the Supreme Court previously stated that the rights to which non-Irish nationals may be entitled under the Constitution “do not always coincide” with the rights of citizens of the State.