Judge McMahon urges action two years after Direct Provision report

Retired Judge Bryan McMahon, who produced a landmark Government report on Direct Provision, has urged the Government to act on its recommendations at a conference marking the two-year anniversary of its publication.

The McMahon Report was published in June 2015 and contained 173 recommendations to improve and reform Direct Provision and the asylum process in Ireland.

Addressing a conference hosted by the Children’s Rights Alliance, Judge McMahon said the Government had to address asylum seekers’ right to work and the length of time people spend in Direct Provision.

He welcomed the Supreme Court’s ruling that the absolute prohibition on asylum seekers pursuing employment, as provided for in section 9(4) of the Refugee Act 1996, is unconstitutional.

Judge McMahon said the Government should either adopt the recommendations of the McMahon Report or sign up to the recast EU directive on asylum seekers following the judgment.

The conference also heard from civil servants working in child protection, asylum and international protection; a young person who lived in Direct Provision; civil society and human rights representatives; and academics from social work, human rights and refugee law.

Tanya Ward, chief executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, added: “Children cannot wait any longer for promises to be made real. Despite some improvements to direct provision and the asylum process in the last two years, many children in the system are living in poverty and suffer from extreme social exclusion.

“Children have told me that they are ashamed to tell their friends that they live in direct provision. Children have also told me that they cannot afford to go on school trips or go to a friend’s birthday party.”