Rights body urges action on direct provision reform

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission seeks quick action on asylum seeker cases

The Department of Justice has said over two-thirds of those identified as being in the direct provision system for more than five years have now had their cases completed. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

The Department of Justice has said over two-thirds of those identified as being in the direct provision system for more than five years have now had their cases completed. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

 

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) has called on the Government to “move without delay” in implementing in full the recommendations of a steering group on direct provision reform.

The report was chaired by retired High Court judge Dr Bryan McMahon and published in June last year.

On Thursday, the Department of Justice published an update saying 91 of the 173 recommendations contained in the report have been implemented.

A further 49 have been partially introduced, while the remaining 33 “remain under consideration”.

Commenting on the update, Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said several of the recommendations would be provided for in the International Protection Act 2015 which will be commenced later this year.

This “can be expected to positively address the crucial issue of the length of time that applicants spend in the process and the direct provision system”, she said.

The Department of Justice said over two-thirds of those identified as being in the system for more than five years have now had their cases completed.

Communal kitchens

Other work undertaken to improve the conditions of asylum seekers has included an increase in the direct provision allowance for children and an increase in the number of communal kitchens for asylum seeking residents.

However, despite these updates, the IHREC - a statutory body created to safeguard human rights - has said all recommendations must be implemented in line with international standards.

Chief commissioner Emily Logan said Mr McMahon had “brought considerable expertise and insight” to his review of the system, and it was important all of his recommendations be adopted.

“We recommend the Government now move to ensure the remaining measures to give effect to the recommendations are implemented so that people seeking asylum in Ireland can live with a greater degree of respect and dignity,” she said in a statement.