IWB for refugees: Ireland

Summary of the national legislation on refugees

Convention relating to the Status of Refugees 1951

Defines refugee as persons with a “well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion

Common European Asylum System: subsidiary protection

Protocol No. 21 TFEU

“Ireland is not bound to participate in EU instruments in this area but may opt-in to any it wishes. Ireland has exercised its option in relation to some but not all of the CEAS instruments” [1]

[1] Working Group to Report to Government on Improvements to the Protection Process, including Direct Provision and Supports to Asylum Seekers (June 2015) 14, available at http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Report%20to%20Government%20on%20Improvements%20to%20the%20Protection%20Process,%20including%20Direct%20Provision%20and%20Supports%20to%20Asylum%20Seekers.pdf/Files/Report%20to%20Government%20on%20Improvements%20to%20the%20Protection%20Process,%20including%20Direct%20Provision%20and%20Supports%20to%20Asylum%20Seekers.pdf.

Refugee life in Ireland

Leading 5 countries for 2014:[1]

  • Pakistan
  • Nigeria
  • Albania
  • Bangladesh
  • Zimbabwe

Number of applications in 2013: 946

Number of applications in 2014: 1448 [2]

Overview: System of “Direct Provision”

 “While it is being determined whether protection applicants are eligible for international protection, they are entitled to basic housing and subsistence. Direct provision is the means by which the State seeks to meet its obligations in this regard. Direct provision is a largely cashless system with the State assuming responsibility for providing accommodation on a full board basis for protection applicants until such time as they are granted some form of status and move into the community, leave the State voluntarily or are removed”[3]

People in the system                          7937 people (15/2/2015) [4]

                                                                      21%: children

Length of time                                       55% over 5 years

Protection process:                             49%

  • 1/3 more than 5 years

Leave to remain:                                     42%

  • ¾: more than 5 years

Deportation:                                              9%

  • 88%: more than 5 years

Judicial review proceedings:             1000

  • 66% more than 5 years

State allowance?                                        Yes

  • Weekly allowance of €19.0 per adult; €9.60 per child for those in Direct Provision[5]
  • No provision for those not in Direct Provision
  • “Residents are not eligible to apply for other social protection supports with the exception of Exceptional Needs Payments and the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance”[6]

Criticism

Working group recommendation: increase to €38.74 for adults and €29.80 for children[7]

Work authorization?                                       No

“Protection applicants are not permitted to seek or enter employment or set up a business in the State” Report 209

Section 9(4)(b) Refugee Act 1996

Ireland has not opted into the Recast Reception Conditions Directive

 Housing?                                                      Yes[8]

45% live in Direct Provision accommodation centres

  • 41%: more than 5 years

55%: live outside Direct Provision or have left the State

Education?                                                              Yes[9]

Access to pre-school, primary and secondary education and ancillary supports such as school transport on the same basis as Irish citizens.

Healthcare?                                                             Yes

Entitled to a medical card

Food?                                                                           Yes

“Food is provided in the form of three served canteen style meals a day for most asylum seekers living in Direct Provision centres. There are two non-Direct Provision self-catering commercially owned centres (RIA, 2012[a]:31). However, the majority of asylum seekers living in Direct Provision centres are not allowed to cook any food independently (RIA, 2007:14).”[10]

Criticism: “Criticism exists of the quality, appropriateness, and overall nutritional value of food provided in accommodation centres (including incorporation of dietary and cultural differences). FLAC (2009) notes that the ‘right to food’ as provided for by various international instruments ‘entails more than mere provision of foodstuffs’. A lack of choice for residents is reported, with residents using their weekly allowance to supplement their diet, however there are difficulties in storing additional food, specifically prohibited in the RIA Rules and Procedures. FLAC (2009) recommends that future preference should be given to self-catering, rather than full-board facilities when renewing contracts. The NGO also calls for the provision of resources and facilities for parents to prepare food for their children.”[11]

[1] http://www.orac.ie/website/orac/oracwebsite.nsf/page/CRSE-9XQK2A15304722-en/$File/2014%20Annual%20Report.pdf 16

[2] http://www.orac.ie/website/orac/oracwebsite.nsf/page/CRSE-9XQK2A15304722-en/$File/2014%20Annual%20Report.pdf 56

[3] Working Group to Report to Government on Improvements to the Protection Process, including Direct Provision and Supports to Asylum Seekers (June 2015) 14, available at http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Report%20to%20Government%20on%20Improvements%20to%20the%20Protection%20Process,%20including%20Direct%20Provision%20and%20Supports%20to%20Asylum%20Seekers.pdf/Files/Report%20to%20Government%20on%20Improvements%20to%20the%20Protection%20Process,%20including%20Direct%20Provision%20and%20Supports%20to%20Asylum%20Seekers.pdf.

[4] Working Group to Report to Government on Improvements to the Protection Process, including Direct Provision and Supports to Asylum Seekers (June 2015) 16.

[5] Working Group to Report to Government on Improvements to the Protection Process, including Direct Provision and Supports to Asylum Seekers (June 2015) 202.

[6] Working Group to Report to Government on Improvements to the Protection Process, including Direct Provision and Supports to Asylum Seekers (June 2015) 203.

[7] Working Group to Report to Government on Improvements to the Protection Process, including Direct Provision and Supports to Asylum Seekers (June 2015) 208.

[8] Working Group to Report to Government on Improvements to the Protection Process, including Direct Provision and Supports to Asylum Seekers (June 2015) 16.

[9] Working Group to Report to Government on Improvements to the Protection Process, including Direct Provision and Supports to Asylum Seekers (June 2015) 14.

[10] Keelin Barry, NASC (Irish Immigrant Support Centre), (2014), “What’s Food Got To Do With It: Food experiences of asylum seekers in Direct Provision,” http://www.nascireland.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/WhatsFoodFINAL.pdf

[11] Cormac Joyce, Emma Quinn, European Migration Network, “The Organisation of Reception Facilities for Asylum Seekers in Ireland” 2014 http://www.ria.gov.ie/en/RIA/ESRI%20IE%20The%20Organisation%20of%20Reception%20Facilities%20for%20Asylum%20Seekers.pdf/Files/ESRI%20IE%20The%20Organisation%20of%20Reception%20Facilities%20for%20Asylum%20Seekers.pdf

The legal process

Under the Refugee Act 1996, as amended by Section 11(1) of the Immigration Act 1999, and by Section 9 of the Illegal Immigrants (Trafficking) Act 2000, and by Section 7 of the Immigration Act 2003, an application for a declaration as a refugee will be dealt with:

At first instance by the Refugee Applications Commissioner who will make a recommendation in relation to your case.

If the recommendation is negative and you are entitled to appeal, any such appeal will be dealt with by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Finally, based on the recommendation of the Refugee Applications Commissioner or the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, a decision will be taken by the Minister for Justice and Equality.

You may make an application for a declaration as a refugee at the port of entry. At the port of entry, you will undergo certain formalities including an initial interview but you will always be required to subsequently attend at the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner. You may also make your application for a declaration as a refugee at the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner.

 

Subsidiary protection: Under the European Union Regulations 2015, if you are applying for refugee status, you may also make an application for subsidiary protection to the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner. If you already have an application for refugee status pending, you can now apply for subsidiary protection as well.

Applying at the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner/port of entry:

If you indicate that you wish to apply for asylum, you will be asked to complete an application form for a declaration as a refugee.

If you wish to make a separate application on behalf of your minor children (or dependent(s), a separate application form for a declaration must be completed for each minor child (or dependent). If not, your accompanying minor children (or dependent(s) will be included in your decision and all decisions taken in relation to your asylum application will apply to them.

Your application must be accompanied by any original travel documents (passports, laissez-passer) in your possession and, if appropriate, those of your children under 18 years. Unless you have a reasonable cause for not doing so, you must also furnish originals of all identity documents, birth and marriage certificates in your possession relating to you and/or your minor children (or dependent(s).

You will be given an initial interview, in accordance with Section 8 of the Refugee Act 1996, as amended, in order to establish whether you wish to make an application for a declaration, and if so, to find out the general grounds upon which the application is based; your identity, nationality and country of origin; the method of your entry (that is, the mode of transport used and the route you travelled) into the State; the reason why you are in the State; the legal basis for your presence in the State and any other basic information that the Refugee Applications Commissioner requires.

At the end of your interview you will be advised of your right to seek legal assistance and to consult with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

If you have applied at the port of entry, you are required to attend the office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner to complete the initial asylum process. If you do not do so and do not provide an address to the Commissioner within 5 working days of making an application, your application will be deemed to be withdrawn.

As part of the process, you and your dependent minors will be required to have your photographs taken. You will also be required to have your fingerprints taken. Fingerprints of your dependent minors may also be taken. Your fingerprints may be disclosed in confidence to the relevant Irish authorities and to asylum authorities of other countries, which may have responsibility for considering your application under the Dublin III Regulation (an electronic system – Eurodac – facilitates transfer of fingerprint information between Dublin III Regulation countries).

If you refuse to allow your fingerprints to be taken, you will be deemed not to have made reasonable effort to establish your true identity and to have failed in your duty to co-operate in the investigation of your application. This may affect the credibility of your application and lead to your application being withdrawn in which case the Minister for Justice shall refuse to give you a declaration. You should also note that in accordance with section 9(8)(c), where an immigration officer or a member of the Garda Síochána, with reasonable cause, suspects that an applicant has not made reasonable effort to establish his or her identity, he or she may detain the person concerned.

You will be given a questionnaire, which you must complete and return at a date and time specified by the Refugee Applications Commissioner. The information you supply in the questionnaire will be considered in assessing your application. It is important, therefore, that you answer all questions fully and truthfully.

 

If you fail to return your questionnaire by the specified date, you may be found to have failed in your duty to co-operate in the investigation of your application and your application may be deemed withdrawn, in which case the Minister shall refuse to give you a declaration.

Before you leave the Reception Unit at the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner you will be issued with a Temporary Residence Certificate setting out your personal details and containing your photograph. The Temporary Residence Certificate is not an identity document.

When you have received your Temporary Residence Certificate you will be referred to the Reception and Integration Agency counter in the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner, which will arrange for you to be taken to a reception centre in the Dublin area where you will remain for a short period, while your needs are assessed. You will then be relocated to accommodation, which may be outside Dublin, and where you will be expected to stay while your application for a declaration as a refugee is being processed.

Unaccompanied minors/separated children

A child under the age of 18 arriving at the frontiers of the State (port of entry) or at the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and who is not in the custody of an adult, will be referred to the Child and Family Agency. The Agency may then decide that an application for a declaration as a refugee should be made on behalf of the minor. Specific arrangements will be made by the Child and Family Agency in conjunction with the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner for the processing of such an application. The Agency is responsible for the general care and well being of the minor and will provide assistance to that minor.

Prioritisation of applications

The Minister for Justice and Equality may give a direction in writing to the Commissioner, or the Tribunal or to both which requires that certain classes of applications be dealt with as a priority.

During the period that one is an asylum seeker in Ireland and one’s application for a declaration as a refugee is being processed in Ireland, one has certain rights and obligations.

Asylum seekers’ rights

  • Unless his/her case is to be dealt with in accordance with the Dublin III Regulation, they will not be removed from the State until they have been given the opportunity to present their case fully to the Refugee Applications Commissioner or the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, as appropriate.
  • Every effort will be made to provide them with an interpreter, where necessary and possible.
  • They are entitled to consult a solicitor. The Refugee Legal Service is an independent body that provides legal assistance to individuals applying for a declaration as a refugee. An information leaflet about the Refugee Legal Service will be given to them when they make their initial application.
  • They are entitled to consult with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) who has an office in Dublin.
  • The Reception and Integration Agency will provide them with accommodation (on a full board basis) in one of their accommodation centres while their application for asylum is being processed. They are entitled to welfare support and health care while their application is being processed.
  • All details provided in connection with their application will be treated in confidence. Information may, however, be disclosed to other bodies that may be dealing with them, such as government departments and agencies including the immigration authorities, An Garda Síochána (the Irish Police), local authorities, as well as the UNHCR, to enable these organisations carry out their functions, including the administration of the law relating to the entry and removal from the State of foreign nationals. Some information may also be provided to other countries operating the Dublin III Regulation for the purpose of operating these arrangements.
  • The applicants will be notified in writing at the most recent address given by them of any appointments they must keep and any recommendations made or decisions taken in connection with their application for a declaration as a refugee by the Refugee Applications Commissioner, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal and the Minister for Justice and Equality (as appropriate).
  • They have the right to view and correct any data concerning them which is held on the Eurodac system. They will be given the opportunity to do this while they are in the Office of the Refugee Applications Commission (ORAC) or they can write to ORAC to rectify any incorrect data.

Asylum seeker’s obligations:

  • They must comply with the laws of the State.
  • They must notify, in writing, the Refugee Applications Commissioner of your address (within 5 working days of making your application) and any change of address. Failure to do so could result in them being found guilty of an offence under the Refugee Act 1996, as amended. Failure to do so could also result in them not receiving important notifications in relation to their applications and consequently failing to meet time limits for lodging documentation, appeals, and so on.
  • In all correspondence with the Refugee Applications Commissioner or the Refugee Appeals Tribunal they should clearly indicate their name, address, nationality, and the reference number shown on their Temporary Residence Certificate.
  • They must not leave or attempt to leave the State without the consent of the Minister for Justice while their application is under consideration.
  • They are not entitled to seek or enter employment or carry on any business, trade or profession.
  • They may be required to report at specified intervals to an Immigration Officer, to the person authorised by the Minister or to a member of the Garda Siochana (Irish Police).
  • They are required to reside or remain at the accommodation centre allocated to you by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA)
  • They can only move from this accommodation with the permission of the RIA and only in circumstances where the RIA is in a position to offer them alternative accommodation.
  • They must be truthful at all times in the information they provide in connection with their application. If they are not, it may lead to a finding that their application is manifestly unfounded. In such circumstances, they would have a shorter period within which to appeal and any appeal they might make would be dealt with without an oral hearing.
  • They must co-operate fully with the investigation of their application. Failure to do so could affect the credibility of their application or result in your application being deemed withdrawn.
  • They should make all information relevant to their application available to the Refugee Applications Commissioner. If they do not do so and seek to bring forward additional information at the appeal stage, they will be required to explain why this information was not made available to the Refugee Applications Commissioner. The Refugee Appeals Tribunal will be required to take this into account in assessing the credibility of their application
  • They must provide the Refugee Applications Commissioner or the Refugee Appeals Tribunal (as appropriate), with details of their solicitor and any change of solicitor (name, address, phone number, and so on).
  • The asylum seekers or their solicitors must retain all copies of documentation given to them by the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. Only in exceptional circumstances will additional copies of the documents be made available.

Sources

http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/moving_country/asylum_seekers_and_refugees/the_asylum_process_in_ireland/applying_for_refugee_status_in_ireland.html

http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/moving_country/asylum_seekers_and_refugees/the_asylum_process_in_ireland/rights_and_obligations_of_asylum_seekers_in_ireland.html

 

Information available here: http://www.irishrefugeecouncil.ie/information-and-referral-service/applying-for-asylum-in-ireland

Interviews

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Description of what happens if they do not receive the refugee status

Notice of proposal to deport

  1. Leave the State before a deportation order
  2. Consent to a deportation order
  3. Consent to voluntary return
  4. Make representations for humanitarian leave to remain in the state

Analysis of how the media depicts the refugees in Ireland

Summary of how media depict refugees

The media coverage regarding refugees has been rather scarce and mainly in reference to the refugee-related events in Europe, in the UK and further afield etc.

The Irish media, more radio and television than newspapers, are typically focused on national and local affairs.

The mass refugee influx into Europe seems to have hardly affected Ireland.

According to the Irish Times (10th December 2016) Ireland has committed to accepting 4000 refugees as a part of the EU response, including 2,622 asylum seekers under the relocation scheme from Greece and Italy. This initiative has been called the Irish Refugee Protection Programme. However, only 109 have arrived so far under that programme, mostly from Greece, 69 of them Syrians.

Ireland has been criticised for the delay in accepting refugees but it is said to be caused by the application processing in Italy and Greece.

Apparently, the process is now speeding up, with 40 asylum seekers arriving in Ireland from Greece every fortnight.

The Government hopes Ireland will have accepted more than 400 people from Greece by the end of 2016.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald is about to travel to Greece to visit some refugee camps and meet with the officials assessing and interviewing the asylum seekers.

The Irish Times also reports that all parties in the Dail (Irish parliament) have passed a motion committing Ireland to accept 200 unaccompanied minors from the former Calais camp. The government has been advised that a special legal programme would have to be established under the Refugee Act in order to carry out this task.

Minister Fitzgerald said that most of the minors coming to Ireland would be unaccompanied young men between the ages of 16 and 18 from Afghanistan, Somalia and Eritrea, currently in various centres in France. Suitable young people will be identified who want to come and stay in Ireland.

The RTE radio 1 and other media (Journal.ie, RTE TV) frequently report on the achievements and experiences of the crew on board of the Irish humanitarian vessels in the Mediterranean, such as LE Eithne, LE Roisin, LE James Joyce, or LE Samuel Beckett, which is currently on duty. The humanitarian vessels pull out the drowning or stranded refugees out of the water and provide them with necessary medical aid. Together, they helped save over 4000 lives since the migration crisis began in summer 2015.

There has been an ongoing criticism of the direct provision system in the press.

For example, The Irish Times (December 2016) published accounts by adults and teenagers who spent years in direct provision, entitled “Lives in Limbo”.

The Irish Independent (August 2016) has published a story of a determined asylum seeker from a Mayo direct provision centre who fought for his access to the third level education against all odds.

Direct Provision is intended to provide for the welfare of asylum seekers and their families as they await decisions on their asylum application. It ‘directly provides’ essential services, medical care and accommodation and board with three meals a day provided at set times. This was designed in 2000 as a temporary solution in order to prevent homelessness among asylum seekers.

However, we now know that the majority of asylum seekers in Ireland live in direct provision for over 4 years and conditions and quality of the provision vary widely, as the centres are owned and run by private contractors who receive about €50 million in state funding annually. People live in conditions which most agree are damaging to the health, welfare and life-chances of those forced to endure them. There is the lack of privacy – parents share rooms with their children, single people live with other adults, there is no possibility to cook for yourself or your family,  the toilets are shared. The people are forced to live idle lives, as they have no right to work while they await the decision. They are not entitled to social welfare, they are excluded from social housing and free third-level education. In all, more than 4,300 people, including 1,600 children, live in 34 accommodation centres spread across the State. Hundreds of children are born into the direct provision which resembles institutionalised living, open prison. It is extremely difficult to grow up and study in such conditions. It is not safe for children to share facilities with strangers. These are not family-friendly conditions. Asylum seekers themselves find it difficult to protest against those conditions themselves, however, NASC The Irish Immigrant Support Centre has been campaigning for the introduction of an independent complaints procedure and for improvement of the living conditions on behalf of asylum seekers.

The current system has been under further pressure due to the recent attempt to deport an Iranian man of 44 living in the direct provision centre in Sligo, who claimed  his life would be in danger if he got back to his country. In protest, he embarked on a hunger strike and was later taken to the emergency unit of the local hospital. The issue elicited wide public response and media coverage, also on social media. Many locals commented on facebook and twitter expressing their criticism of the system and their support for the Iranian man. A few rallies took place outside the Globe House Sligo in November 2016 to support the man’s pledge and to protest against the direct provision system.

At first, the Department of Justice said that they could not comment on the case due to the state’s solemn obligation to protect the identities of the asylum seekers. Eventually, the hunger strike ended on November 15 after 36 days, but not before the Iranian man got assurances he would be allowed to apply for asylum in Ireland. The local activists say they will regroup now and prepare for further protests against the direct provision system.

Sources

http://www.thejournal.ie/irish-ship-mediterranean-lives-2869458-Jul2016/

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/t%C3%A1naiste-to-visit-refugee-camps-in-greece-1.2892548

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/process-of-bringing-200-child-migrants-from-france-begins-1.2899861

Department says it cannot comment on hunger striker in Sligo

Hopes deportation order to be lifted

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/man-ends-36-day-hunger-strike-after-asylum-process-access-assured-1.2869504

Direct Provision

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/lives-in-limbo

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/education/exams/my-story-in-direct-provision-i-missed-meals-if-they-clashed-with-classes-34972175.html

The subjective perspective

Looking from my personal perspective (living in a town of 20 thousand on the west coast), the Irish community is generally a very tolerant and inclusive one, even though the presence of refugees and immigrants is a relatively new phenomenon here.

There is a local joke, that in today’s Ireland even the smallest town must have these three essentials: pub, church and a Chinese takeaway…

Irish people are generally open and friendly and they are no different towards foreigners. Shops and businesses have international crews, schools and creches are full of children of various origins. One of the milestones of the Early Education Curriculum is the principle of Equality and Diversity, which means respecting children’s uniqueness and treating them as equals.  I have not seen any discrimination at places I worked either. We all learn from one another and enjoy the insight into one another’s cultures. In my town, there is a Pakistani shop with Asian food, two Polish and two Lithuanian shops, Turkish kebabs and barber, Indian, Chinese, Italian, Polish and Korean eateries. Sadly, some uneducated or older people have less progressive views and sometimes you can hear negative comments on refugees or ethnic minorities from them. But I have never seen or heard any foreigners directly abused.

Some refugees find voluntary jobs with charities, can be seen selling the Big Issue, a magazine published on behalf of and sold by homeless and vulnerably housed people. Sadly, some Roma people can be seen begging too, especially in bigger cities such as Galway or Dublin.

The people’s response to the news of the hunger strike in the local asylum seeker’s home described above, well reflects the attitude of some in my community. The Irish often say that because of their past (and, sadly, present) as emigrants it is only natural on their part to try to return the favour.

Section

Empty section. Edit page to add content here.

Irelandirl

Name: Republic of Ireland

Capital: Dublin

Country location: Western Europe

Year of joining the EU: 1973

Currency: Euro

Gross Domestic Product: (2015 Q2) €52, 034 million1

Minimum wage: €8.65 per hour for an experienced adult employee (otherwise €7.65)2

At risk of poverty threshold: (EU threshold: 60% of the median income of a member state) (2013) €199.79 per week3

At risk of poverty rate: 15.2%4

IWB Researchersforwebsite

Would you like to join the campaign?
image_pdfimage_print

Proposed by

on 21 September 2015

Be the first who shares an opinion!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *