Law Society urges move away from non-statutory system of direct provision

Law Society urges move away from non-statutory system of direct provision

Sinéad Lucey

The Law Society of Ireland has reiterated its call for an end to the non-statutory system of direct provision ahead of UN World Refugee Day on Sunday.

A recent submission to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth called for the introduction of a system grounded in the principles of human rights, respect for diversity and respect for privacy and family life.

Sinéad Lucey, chair of the Law Society’s human rights and equality committee, said reforms outlined in the government’s white paper are welcome but that it is “concerning that the proposed new system still lacks a legislative foundation”.

Ms Lucey said: “Reform has taken place on a policy level but we must move away from the non-statutory structure of direct provision that has been in place since its inception. We need a system that cannot be changed on an ad-hoc basis or without legislative oversight.”

She explained: “Ireland has made a commitment to meet the minimum standards outlined in the EU Directive on Reception Conditions. It is our hope that Ireland would go beyond the minimum, and we want to avoid the lack of clarity around minimum standards that currently exists.

“Any system which is based on the principles of human rights must include certain legal guarantees as to minimum standards. It must also provide legal remedies for any failure by the State to achieve those standards.

“National law and policy needs to be assessed against the requirements of the Directive to ensure that it has been properly transposed into national law.

“It is presently questionable whether applicants are provided with an adequate standard of living or whether the inability for some asylum seekers to secure a driving license is acting as an indirect barrier to the labour market contrary to the requirement of the Directive.”

She added: “On World Refugee Day, we have an opportunity to redouble our efforts to create a new system that safeguards the human rights of individuals and families who may have no choice but to leave their home country and start anew elsewhere.

“The Law Society looks forward to implementation of the new system over the coming years and the assessment of the impact of that reform.”

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