Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh is calling on the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter to enter discussions on an alternative reception system for people seeking international protection in this state.
Senator Ó Clochartaigh made the call following publication of a report on the issue by the Irish Refugee Council.
“I welcome the report from Irish Refugee Council. The testimony of asylum seekers in direct provision must be our call to action for reform.
“I also note the support from a range of NGO's and individuals for it including Justice Catherine McGuinness.
“I am calling on all interested parties including the Departments of Justice, Social Protection and Children’s Affairs, the relevant NGO's, public representatives and asylum seekers themselves to enter into a comprehensive debate as to how the system could be reformed as is being called for by the IRC
“Three asylum seekers who outlined their personal experiences talked of the despair of being in a system that robs them of their dignity and hope. They spoke of their worries for the longer term impact on their children and the stress and ill health they suffer as a result of being in the system. They likened it to being in an open prison where they have no control of what and when they eat, how they parent their children and whether they can work, take part in educational programmes and make a new life for themselves away from the conflict from which they are fleeing.
“I want to praise the cross party approach being taken on the issue in the Seanad, but I am asking all elected representatives to educate themselves on the difficulties with the system and work towards its reform and for the state to fully embrace its international human rights obligations in deed as well as in word.”