Law Society’s continuing concerns over asylum bill

Law Society's continuing concerns over asylum bill

The Law Society of Ireland continues to have serious concerns about provisions in the International Protection Bill, according to a letter seen by The Irish Times.

A letter from Law Society president Simon Murphy, sent to members of the Oireachtas Justice Committee, is supportive of the bill’s general principles but includes “serious concerns” about the treatment of children and families.

It notes that there is no appeal mechanism for children to challenge an assessment of their age, which raises “serious concerns around proper access to justice and the right to an effective legal remedy”.

It also said the “general ongoing obligation on the applicant” to submit personal information to the State places an “unbalanced and impractical onus on applicants and their solicitors, which in turn has serious implications for effective legal representation and applicants’ proper access to justice”.

Mr Murphy also refers to an “over restrictive” legal definition of a family member and a “restrictive deadline” on applying for family reunification.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, who introduced the bill to the Dáil for its second stage debate today, said: “I assure deputies that this Bill will bring important efficiencies, proper procedures and operational clarity to all stages of the protection process.

“It will provide applicants with a final decision on their status in a fair, straightforward and timely fashion and will also, as a consequence, reduce the length of time applicants spend in the Direct Provision system.

“At the same time, it will allow for the identification, at a much earlier stage, of persons who have no entitlement to stay in the State and who can safely return to their country of origin.”

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