Month: August 2020

Petition: Remove Una McGurk from the International Protection Appeals Tribunal

The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) is deeply disturbed by the presence and participation of a member of the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT) in a rally organised by well known anti-migrant groups and individuals including the Irish Freedom Party.

Questions arise on Ms Una McGurk’s impartiality when assessing appeals for international protection whilst associating herself with anti-migrant groups, individuals, and attends and speaks at rallies organised by them. A quick scroll through her social media accounts reveals that her support for the Irish Freedom Party did not start this weekend.

MASI calls on the Minister to:

1. Seek an immediate suspension of Ms McGurk and report into her conduct from the Chairperson of IPAT.
2. Remove Ms McGurk from her post for a clear breach of the tribunal’s code of conduct.
3. Review any tribunal decisions made by Ms McGurk.
4. Revoke any deportation orders issued after her recommendations to the Minister (from the date of Ms McGurk’s appointment).
5. Bring back to Ireland any asylum seeker who was deported after appearing before Ms McGurk.
6. And finally, establish a commission of inquiry into the tribunal’s decisions as members seem to have an alarmingly high rejection rate.

We believe the Minister, as the only person in the State with the power to declare a person to be a refugee, has acted under biased recommendations from Ms McGurk which undermines the principle of non-refoulement and the Geneva Convention on the status of refugees. We look forward to your urgent action on this matter.

Statement on the Department of Justice monitoring our social media tweets

Friday 14th August 2020

The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) is appalled by the conduct of the Department of Justice who have dedicated civil servants monitoring our tweets. Earlier this year, we learned that the department of justice directed its Transparency Unit to review social media tweets. This came after MASI sent a tweet about an asylum seeker who was found dead in a hotel procured by the Department of Justice to warehouse asylum seekers. The Deputy Secretary General in the department wrote to MASI asking us to delete the tweet as the family had not been notified. We refused to delete the tweet as the information shared did not identify the deceased asylum seeker. Before this, in a briefing organised by the department of justice for civil society groups, the Deputy Secretary General raised “concerns” about MASI tweets as the department has an audience they perhaps do not wish to see the horrendous experiences of asylum seekers in Direct Provision. We informed the department that we will not be told by them how to do our advocacy work. We will tweet whatever we feel like tweeting.

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