Stanton pledges quick legislative response to Supreme Court asylum ruling
Minister of State says there has been massive improvement in direct provision centres
Above, Minister of State at the Department of Justice, David Stanton with Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
“It is an important and serious matter,’’ he said. “We welcome the judgment.’’
The court found on Tuesday that the ban on asylum seekers looking for work was unconstitutional.
Mr Stanton told the Dáil on Wednesday there had been massive improvements in the direct provision centres and the vast majority of residents were quite happy with what was going on.
“We have more to do and we will continue to do more,’’ he added.
He was replying to Fianna Fáil TD Fiona O’Loughlin who asked if the Department of Justice would act swiftly on the issue. She said it was a significant and welcome judgment.
Solidarity-People Before Profit (PBP) TD Bríd Smith said some of those in direct provision were sitting around for up to 10 and 12 years.
She said she had read in The Irish Times that a spokesman for Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald had said, independent of the judgment, she had already started looking at options which would allow asylum seekers to access the labour market in certain circumstances.
“I don’t believe that for one minute,’’ Ms Smith added.
Solidarity-PBP TD Mick Barry said the man who took the court action had spoken about an almost complete loss of autonomy and what it had done to his sense of self-worth.
Mr Stanton said there had been a radical improvement in the length of time people stayed in the direct provision system.
Figures now showed 72 per cent had been there for three years or less since the date of their application, compared to 36 per cent when data was compiled for a working group in 2015.
“In other words, there has been a complete reversal in the profile of the length of stay since the working group examined the matter,’’ he added.
“These improvements are as a result of concerted efforts to deal with cases of people who are five or more years in the system.’’