herald

Tuesday 17 October 2017

IRELAND is to slash the assessment time for asylum seeker applications in a bid to ease mounting pressure on the controversial direct provision system.

IRELAND is to slash the assessment time for asylum seeker applications in a bid to ease mounting pressure on the controversial direct provision system.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed that Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald is currently reviewing the asylum seeker and refugee regime in a bid to fast-track application rulings.

Mr Kenny's comments came as asylum seekers demonstrated at five centres last week in protest at the direct provision system and the length of time it was taking for asylum seeker applications to be processed.

The protests - two at centres in Glounthaune and the Kinsale Road in Cork city - involved over 340 residents, who are being supported by the migrant rights group, NASC.

Some residents complained that they have been living under the direct provision system, under which they cannot work and are given limited weekly cash allowances, for over nine years.

Several African asylum seekers complained that they have effectively been forced to raise families while in the direction provision system.

unacceptable

Mr Kenny said it was "a complex issue" but that such lengthy delays were clearly unacceptable.

"I do [understand their frustration]. The Minister for Justice has visited a number of these centres as have quite a number of ministers," he said.

"This is quite a complex problem and obviously one thing that needs to be looked at is the question of the determination of eligibility for asylum criteria.

"Many of these cases have drifted on for years without a solution being found. It's necessary to be able to determine [at a] much earlier date and a much earlier time the eligibility of the criteria that apply here.

"It's a matter of considerable interest to the Minister for Justice and the Government," he said.

Several Fine Gael Cabinet ministers have privately voiced frustrations at the escalating problems with the direct provision system.

The Glounthaune centre, opened in the former Ashbourne Hotel, began migrant operations in 2000 as a short-stay centre. However, some people staying at the facility have now been under the direct provision regime for nine years.

hnews@herald.ie

Promoted articles

Entertainment News