Procedures for asylum to be improved


The Minister for Justice has published details of speedier arrangements for dealing with asylum applications. Mr O'Donoghue has confirmed that proposals in the 1996 Refugee Act to set up an independent body to handle applications have been dropped. Department officials are to take over this work, although the UN High Commission for Refugees will have access to individual case files.

Mr O'Donoghue has agreed with UNHCR to set up a separate authority to deal with appeals from asylum-seekers whose applications have been rejected. This will be staffed by solicitors or barristers with at least 10 years experience.