The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) calls on the Minister for Justice to implement the recommendation by the Catherine Day Advisory Group to use her discretionary power to grant permission to remain to people who have been in the asylum process for 2 years at the end of 2020. The Minister has not committed to implementing this recommendation. MASI is concerned that the Department of Justice is not using the opportunity provided by Covid-19 related travel restrictions in reducing number of new asylum claims in the State to ramp up processing of long standing backlogs. The average processing time at the International Protection Office was more than 17 months in 2020. For a long time asylum seekers have spent more than a year waiting for an initial decision on their asylum claim, even prior to the pandemic.
Commenting on the processing time, campaigner, Ola Mustapha said, “I have been waiting for seven years and still no end in sight. It is so disheartening to see my young children who started senior infants here transition to secondary school yet still stuck in this system. Why can’t they be allowed to grow up like “normal” children? My husband died on the 21st of March, 2021; the children have always looked forward to the day they will see their dad again, sadly that day will never come. I hope government commits to clearing the backlog and put an end to the endless wait.”
The Catherine Day Advisory Group recognised that granting of permission to remain to people currently in the asylum process would help towards ending the system of Direct Provision so that the new asylum reception system does not inherit a backlog. With over 7000 people in Direct Provision today, the once-off case processing approach to give permission to remain to a large cohort of applicants would go a long way towards significantly reducing backlog and ending the state of limbo that has characterised the Irish asylum system.
Further to that, MASI calls on the Minister to review all deportation orders with a view of granting permission to remain. Covid-19 has created a lot of uncertainty for everyone, especially for migrants with precarious immigration status. Chantal Trytsman who has spent 5 years in Direct Provision said she would rather take her own life than to go back to South Africa where her son was just 4 years old when he had a gun held against his head. This highlights the serious effects of deportation orders on those affected by them. And the Minister has discretionary powers to revoke deportation orders. Such discretion ought to be used now to end the limbo.
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.
Media Enquiries: Bulelani Mfaco – +353 89 474 2911
 See recommendation 6.7 on page 87 of the Catherine Day Advisory Group here https://assets.gov.ie/93440/05b40003-242c-4549-88a5-ba8fcdc20f60.pdf