The introduction last month of a new asylum application procedure has created chaos for thousands of people living in Direct Provision. This Tuesday 21st March, MASI (Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland), ARN (Anti-Racism Network), with supporters Wendy Lyon (immigration solicitor) and Donal O’Kelly (playwright) will describe the impact of this new procedure and other aspects of the new International Protection Act.
Last month, the IPO (International Protection Office) launched the single application procedure for asylum seekers in Ireland. In early February the IPO sent a 60-page questionnaire form to over 3000 people in the asylum process to be returned within 20 days, including legal counsel. This new procedure was supposed to increase the efficiency of Ireland’s asylum process. It has, according to those affected, been a ‘shambolic disaster’. Lack of clarity about the deadline, the paralysis of the swamped Refugee Legal Service, the difficulties of retrieving documentation, poor translations of of the form are just some of the obstacles people have had to deal with as they complete a form determining their future and the futures of their children.
The IPA has introduced sweeping changes to Ireland’s immigration law. Many of its provisions seem designed to undermine the internationally recognised right to seek asylum. While the Department of Justice insists that the single procedure will speed up the asylum process, fears that this will be achieved through accelerated deportations, unmonitored refusals, and defective, erratic assessment processes are being proven all too accurate. Vicky Donnelly of Galway One World Centre observes: “While Trump’s ‘travel ban’ has, quite correctly, been criticised by politicians here, Ireland has been quietly deporting people at the border before they can even make a proper case for asylum. At a time of unprecedented crisis, when a focus on human rights is most needed, the IPB appears purpose-designed to facilitate and speed up deportations. History will judge us harshly unless we recognise these issues and act to correct them.”
As Lucky Khambule of MASI notes: “Direct Provision is often called the Magdalene Laundries of our time. This state-sanctioned institutional abuse will undoubtedly be the subject of inquiry in years to come. The isolation of people in DP is allowing this new system to be rolled out with disregard for the rights of those seeking asylum to transparent rights-based process.”
This presentation gives Ireland’s legislators the opportunity to hear from people directly affected by the new Act. Asylum seekers will describe what is happening right now, and what legislators can do to ensure that future generations do not look back to this time and wonder how nothing was done.
While the presentation takes place inside, RAMSI Refugee and Migrant Solidarity Ireland will gather in solidarity outside Leinster House from 5.30pm.
Lucky Khambule (MASI) 0899669010
Dr Anne Mulhall 0872213150