The Irish Refugee Council have highlighted four priorities for action as the new Dáil term begins on 15 September. These are:

  1. Reducing delays at the International Protection Office which currently stand at more than two years from date of application until decision. Delays cause harm to people and undermine the integrity of the process.
  2. Tangible progress on ending Direct Provision. Seven months on from publishing the White Paper, demonstrable change and action is needed.
  3. Eligibility to apply for a driver licence for people in the protection process is a long-promised but unfulfilled change and is a basic building block of integration.
  4. New Humanitarian Admission Programme, including for Afghan people, is a critical response to the situation in Afghanistan and builds on actions taken so far.

Nick Henderson, CEO said:

“The protection process in Ireland is at a critical juncture. Our priorities for the new Dáil identify four key issues that require attention and action. Delays are damaging people and undermining the integrity of the process from the perspective of all stakeholders. Shockingly, current waiting times are projected at two years or more. Urgent action is needed. In addition, we are also calling on the Government to make tangible progress on ending Direct Provision. Seven months have passed since the White Paper was published and demonstrable change is needed. Driver licences for people in the protection have also been long promised and were scheduled to be in the Road Traffic Bill 2021. However, it is not clear where this is on the legislative agenda. Finally, we call on the Government to introduce a new humanitarian admissions programme as soon as possible and to be as broad as possible. ”

ENDS

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Notes for editor:

  • International Protection Office delays: Projected waiting times are currently more than 2 years. Delays cause harm to people and undermine the integrity of the process. A report published by the Irish Refugee Council in July (“Hanging on a Thread” Delays in the Irish Protection Process) highlights the extent of delays in the Irish protection process and their impact on people waiting in the system. The report includes testimonials from people experiencing delays who express feelings of stress, depression, suicidal ideation and damage to family life.
  • New Humanitarian Admission Programme: Speedy implementation of The Humanitarian Admission Programme announced by the Government on 28 August and to ensure the criteria for the humanitarian admission programme are sufficiently broad to allow people from priority countries who are resident in Ireland to apply for family members to join them.
  • Tangible progress on ending Direct Provision: 7 months on from the publishing White Paper, demonstrable change is needed.
  • Eligibility for driver licence for people in the protection process. A long-promised change and were scheduled to be in the Road Traffic Bill 2021 but so far unfulfilled. These are a basic building block of integration and the delay in implementing is concerning and problematic.
  • For comment: Nick Henderson 0858585559