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Resignation from McMahon Working Group on the Direct Provision system ‘a matter of deep concern’ – Adams

27 March, 2015 - by Gerry Adams TD


Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams has described the resignation of Sue Conlan the CEO of the Irish Refugee Council from the Government’s Working Group on the Direct Provision process as “a matter of deep concern which brings into focus the failure of the government to end a punitive system for refugees seeking asylum in this state.”

Last month, Gerry Adams visited the Direct Provision Centre at Mosney. It was his second visit in recent months. The visit was part of an all-party Oireachtas delegation.

Teachta Adams said:

“The Direct Provision centre is a punitive, harsh and inhumane system that holds children born in this state in semi-captivity and denies them their status as Irish citizens. The treatment of people held within the system is a blight on the international reputation of this state.”

“In October 2014, the government established a Working Group to examine improvements in the protection and direct provision system under the chair of High Court Judge Bryan McMahon. It is due to hand over its report to the Minister in the next few weeks.”

“Several days ago, the Minister for Justice published the Heads of the International Protection Bill which is intended to radically reform the direct provision system through the creation of a single applications procedure for international protection.”

“The resignation of Sue Conlon of the Irish Refugee Council raises real questions about the impact of the proposed new Bill and the likely content of the McMahon report, and whether these will positively transform the Direct Provision system.”

“According to Ms Conlan, the Working Group was not allowed to have sight of or discuss the new Bill, about which she has expressed reservations.”

“In her letter of resignation, Ms Conlan has also expressed concern that ‘any attempt within the Working Group to propose change which involves legislation, such as putting accommodation and support in a Bill or changing legislation to extend the role of the Ombudsman or Children’s Ombudsman has been resisted by the Department of Justice’.

“These have long been viewed as essential elements in ensuring that the immigration system in this state is properly scrutinised, transparently accountable and in line with international standards. The Direct provision system should also be included within the Freedom of Information rules.

“The Direct Provision system has been in place for 15 years. It 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 and many have been there longer than that. There are 1529 children.”

“The system should be scrapped and a new process, based on international best practice, introduced.”

“The resignation of the Irish Refugee Council CEO suggests that this government is intent on repeating the mistakes of Fianna Fáil.” 

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