Cabinet approves inter-departmental working group on asylum seekers’ ruling

 Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan

The Cabinet has agreed to convene an inter-departmental working group to examine the implications of the Supreme Court ruling on asylum seekers’ right to work.

It coincides with the publication of the third and final progress report on the implementation of the McMahon report, which shows that 98 per cent of the 133 recommendations have been implemented, partially implemented or are in progress.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said: “Since the Court’s decision my Department has been analyzing and considering this important and complex judgment. It is clear there are implications for a number of Government Departments and services.

“The Judgement requires a ‘whole-of-Government’ approach. To facilitate this, Cabinet has approved my proposal to establish an inter-Departmental Taskforce to examine the implications and to consider appropriate solutions as quickly as possible. I will report back to Cabinet in due course when the Taskforce has completed its work.

“The Court recognises that there are complex matters in relation to this Judgement and that the State has a right to determine not just who can enter the State but also to regulate what their rights are while within the State, particularly as regards employment.

“Accordingly, the Court has adjourned consideration of its Order for six months to enable the State to consider its response.”

Launching the McMahon progress report, Mr Flanagan said there “has been a radical improvement in the length of time persons remain in the Direct Provision system”.

He continued: “Today’s report highlights the very positive actions being taken across a number of Government Departments to improve the daily lives and the living conditions of applicants and their families within the Direct Provision system. For example, the introduction of the foodhall in Mosney and cooking facilities in centres such as Kinsale Road, Clonakilty and Millstreet, in Co Cork and St. Patrick’s in Monaghan enables individual families to cook for themselves.

“In this reporting period, in conjunction with the ongoing implementation of improvements to accommodation and self-catering facilities, residents  can now access the services of the Ombudsman and the Ombudsman for Children and there was also an increase recently to the Direct Provision Allowance for both adults and children, including those arriving to Ireland under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme.

“I am committed to ensuring that this important work will continue in line with our commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government to reform the Direct Provision system, particularly in relation to families.

“The ongoing implementation of these reforming measures, alongside the biggest change to our protection process within the last two decades, has created the conditions whereby applicants will continue to be treated with humanity and respect whilst also ensuring that we have more efficient procedures and safeguards in place within our protection system.”