Following debates in the Dáil & Seanad, the Government will now enter an EU Commission compliance procedure

Minister Flanagan has welcomed the endorsement of the Dáil and Seanad for the Government proposal to opt-in to the EU (recast) Reception Conditions Directive.  The Directive provides a legislative framework for the provision of reception conditions and related supports for applicants in our international protection system.  These include labour market access and the decision to opt-in to the Directive was taken following the Supreme Court judgment in NVH v Minister for Justice and Equality [2017].  The Government decided to go beyond the issue of labour market access and instead to bring Ireland in line with other EU Member States by opting-in to the EU (recast) Reception Conditions Directive; this followed detailed analysis by an interdepartmental group.  

An application for opt-in requires motions to be passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas and this process was completed today (Tuesday).  The Government will now notify the European Council and Commission of its decision to opt-in and the Commission will consider Ireland’s arrangements for compliance; this process will take four months in line with the EU Treaties.

Minister Flanagan stated:

Following two positive debates in the Oireachtas today, the Government will now move at speed to begin the compliance process required by the EU.  Opting in to the Directive will be positive for applicants as it involves important provisions in respect of labour market access, children’s rights, healthcare, education and material reception conditions.  An Implementation Group with membership drawn from across a wide range of Government departments and services is working intensively to ensure Ireland can comply with the Directive’s requirements and complete the opt-in process as quickly as possible.

“The Government shares the commitment of members on all sides of the Oireachtas to see continued improvements to our international protection system and opting-in to this Directive provides an important EU framework for agreed norms and standards.  I welcome the positive engagement by Oireachtas members in this important policy area and their contributions to the debates in the Houses today.”