· Report is the first comprehensive assessment in 15 years of the direct provision and protection system

· This Report provides valuable recommendations in relation to improving our current systems and processes - Minister Fitzgerald

· Minister Fitzgerald “committed to tackling the lengthy delays in the protection system.”

· There are recommendations that can make a significant difference to the lives of those in the system - Minister of State Ó Ríordáin

 

30 June, 2015

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, TD and Minister of State for New Communities, Culture, Equality, and Drugs Strategy, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD today welcomed the Report of the Working Group on the Protection Process including Direct Provision and supports to asylum seekers The Report was presented to Government earlier today and is being immediately published.

The Report marks the culmination of six months intensive work by the Group established by both Ministers last October and chaired by former High Court Judge, Dr. Bryan McMahon. Membership of the Group was drawn from a range of interests in the international protection area including UNHCR, non-governmental organisations, protection applicants, academia, and relevant Government Departments and Offices.

The Report is the first comprehensive examination in 15 years of the key elements that make up our protection system and the outcome has yielded a substantial report with over 170 recommendations for consideration by Government.

On being presented with the report Minister Fitzgerald said:“The direct provision system is in existence 15 years. But direct provision not just a ‘system’. For thousands, direct provision represents their home and their community. For many, many children, direct provision is all they know of life and living.”

This Report gives us a clear perspective into the Protection system in Ireland and provides valuable recommendations in relation to improving our current systems and processes.’

The Minister committed that the report will receives serious study and consideration by the whole-of-Government.The Minister will be immediately initiating a dialogue with the many Departments and Agencies impacted by the 170 recommendations contained in the report

The Minister said that this report “reaffirms that the excessive length of time in the protection system as the most significant issue facing those in direct provision.”

“I am absolutely committed to tackling the lengthy delays in the protection system.”

 

“It is clear from reading this Report that the successful implementation of key recommendations is dependent on the early enactment of the International Protection Bill. I have already published the heads of this important new Bill which will introduce a new streamlined and more effective single procedure for those applying for protection status.

 

“The introduction of a single asylum application procedure will greatly enhance the experience of the applicant and accelerate proper decision making on the determination of status.”

 

Minister Fitzgerald said that she shared her very real concerns expressed in the report regarding conditions in direct provision accommodation. The Minister said it her firm intention to bring forward a series of reforms aimed at improving conditions, particularly for families and children.

 

Minister Ó Ríordáin also referred to the importance of ensuring that the International Protection Bill is a priority in order to effect real change in the protection process. He added:

"I welcome the publication of this report as this issue is very close to my heart. Upon my appointment as a Minister of State I highlighted reform in this area as a priority for me and I am delighted to see the publication of today's 173 recommendations which, when implemented, will have a real and significant impact on people's lives. I will be urging Government to consider quickly those recommendations that can be agreed and progressed in the immediate future. I also hope that the Government will setup a time frame for the long term implementation of the more complex recommendations and I look forward to working on a cross - departmental basis with my colleagues on seeing this being brought across the line."

A full copy of the Working Group Report can be viewed here http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Working_Group_on_Improvements_to_the_Protection_Process

ENDS