Family reunification bill to go before Seanad today

A bill to allow refugees to bring their grandparents, cousins, nephews, nieces and siblings to Ireland will be debated in the Seanad today.

Independent Senators Colette Kelleher, Lynn Ruane, Alice-Mary Higgins and others are bringing forward the International Protection (Family Reunification Amendment) Bill 2017.

Members of the Seanad’s Civil Engagement group have worked with NGOs like the Irish Refugee Council, Nasc and Oxfam on the bill.

Both Oxfam and Nasc have said the International Protection Act 2015 made Ireland’s family reunification regime stricter than before.

Senator Kelleher told “If somebody gets into this country and manages to get refugee status and they want to bring a member of their family there, the definition is really, really restrictive.”

In a briefing document, the three NGOs said the new bill would bring Ireland’s asylum laws “back in line with the provisions of the Refugee Act 1996 concerning the definition of family”.