ECRI: Ireland must review its asylum accommodation system and allow asylum seekers to work

by zoejardiniere

22.02.13 The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has published its fourth report on Ireland in which it raises serious concerns about the ‘direct provision’ system in place for asylum seekers in Ireland.

The report notes high instances of mental health complaints among asylum seekers accommodated in direct provision reception facilities for longer than six months and criticises the lack of autonomy and independence afforded to them. The report recommends an ‘in-depth and systematic review’ of this policy.

In order to facilitate the independence and integration of asylum seekers, ECRI recommends that the government consider allowing them the right to access paid employment. The report also recommends considering increasing the resources dedicated to language classes and increasing asylum seekers’ weekly allowance, which has not been augmented from € 19.10 per month per adult since 1999, and has lost about a third of its value in that time.

The Irish Refugee Council (IRC), an ECRE Member, has welcomed the findings of the report. The IRC argues that the system of direct provision is detrimental, especially in the long-term to families. Sue Conlan, Chief Executive of IRC said, “Nearly half of the residents are children, many of them born in Ireland, who are growing up not only in a form of institutionalisation but also in poverty and social exclusion.”

Another priority recommendation regards the establishment of a single system for the processing of asylum and subsidiary protection claims. As matters stand, a person seeking subsidiary protection in Ireland must first go through an application for refugee status, only then, if that claim is rejected, can they file a new claim for subsidiary protection. Under the proposed Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill, these would be consolidated into a single procedure.

For further information:

–         The Irish Times, Report on racism calls for new legislation, 20 February 2013

–         The Irish Times, Institutional care scandals continue to shame society, 13 February 2013