Asylum system urgently needs reform – Adams
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams TD has welcomed further information from the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald TD on the proposed International Protection Bill. The Louth TD raised this matter with the Taoiseach last week and again today during Order of Business.
Last week Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach about the related Immigration Residence and Protection Bill 2010. This Bill is intended to replace immigration law dating back to 1935, notably the Aliens Act. It is also intended to introduce comprehensive reforms of the immigration residency and asylum systems, which will include a statutory appeals system and set out rights and obligations in a transparent way.
Deputy Adams said:
“In her letter the Minister for Justice acknowledged that while ‘work will continue on the broader Immigration Bill’ she now plans to ‘fast track a separate International Protection Bill’.”
“The new Bill will introduce a ‘single procedure for the examination of applications for international protection’ and seek to reform the ‘current multi-layered and sequential system’.”
“The Minister has committed to publishing the General Scheme of the International Protection Bill in the next few weeks.”
The Sinn Féin leader stated:
“There is an urgent need for the dismantling of the Direct Provision system and a clear and fair legislative framework which is based on best international practice.”
“Direct provision centres have been described as “a holding pen where people are kept for efficient deportation” and conditions have been consistently criticised by human rights and civil society agencies and some politicians.”
“The system was originally intended to accommodate asylum seekers for six months. Today almost half of the 4,324 people living in the system have been there for five years. In addition around one third (1529) of those in the 34 DP centres are children. This creates its own difficulties. In the last five years the social services have been alerted to over 1500 child protection or welfare concerns. Sixteen children under five have died in Direct Provision Centres.”
“The direct provision centres and system is a disgrace. It needs to be dismantled and a new, more humane and transparent and accountable system, based on internationally accepted protocols, must be put in place.”