Press Statement: 31st January 2021
The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) is shocked to learn that Ms Una McGurk SC is the tribunal member who upheld the International Protection Office (IPO) decision to refuse refugee status to a bisexual man. The IPO rejected his asylum claim on the grounds that he had not established a well founded fear of persecution. Apparently the fact that he would face jail time or the death sentence in Nigeria due to his sexual orientation does not, in the IPO’s opinion, qualify him for refugee status.
In upholding the IPO decision, and commenting on the fact that the man had relationships, and engaged in sexual intercourse with other men, Una McGurk SC said:
“It is simply not credible that a young man having been raised in such a restrictive environment both parental and societal, would engage in behaviour both unacceptable and outlawed in the society in which he lives….”
And this was called out by Judge Barrett in para.9 here. MASI had previously called for the Minister of Justice to remove Ms McGurk from the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT) because of her support for an anti-migrant group – the Irish Freedom Party. McGurk attended a public gathering where she spoke alongside the Chairperson of the Irish Freedom Party. It is disgraceful that the Minister for Justice has not removed Ms Una McGurk from the tribunal and ordered a review of her decisions. Since the Minister for Justice is not keen to protect asylum seekers, the Taoiseach must intervene.
About MASI – the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland is a grassroots organisation based in Ireland. We are people who are or have been in the asylum and direct provision system in Ireland, working and advocating together for justice, freedom and dignity for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. Our focus is on the Right to Education and the Right to Work for all people seeking asylum, on the complete abolition of direct provision and an end to deportations.