14th of February 2022
The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) is alarmed by the delays in access to the asylum procedure after people declare that they are in Ireland seeking international protection. On Saturday 12th February 2022 in Dublin, MASI held an information session for asylum seekers who arrived in Ireland recently.
We were appalled to learn that almost all attendees had waited for several weeks before they could be given an opportunity for formally apply for international protection. And when they are given that opportunity, the documentation they receive varies. Ordinarily, after submitting an application for international protection, an asylum seeker would be given a Temporary Residency Card (TRC) and a copy of their preliminary interview. Some of the asylum seekers who attended the information session had a Temporary Residency Card that did not have an application date. Some had a piece of paper with their photo on it.
Some had been staying in ‘emergency Direct Provision centres (commercial hotels)’ for weeks without attending to the International Protection Office (IPO) to formally lodge an application for protection. All of the delays in ensuring that asylum seekers have access to the asylum procedure and TRC card mean that they also do not have access to crucial supports such as a PPS card which they need for the weekly allowance, medical card and other supports.
We gather that there is some appointment system operated in the hotels where asylum seekers have to check if they are on a ‘list’ to go to the International Protection Office to formally apply for protection. Those who are not on the list are not given assistance with transport to travel to the IPO to apply for protection. All of these delays in accessing the asylum procedure undermine the fundamental human right to seek asylum. They also amount to a breach of Ireland’s obligations in terms of the EU Directive on Reception Conditions for Asylum Seekers which requires Ireland to provide material supports for asylum seekers who need them. Human beings need more than a bed and three meals a day.
MASI calls on Minister Helen McEntee, and Minister Roderic O’Gorman to ensure that all asylum seekers have prompt access to the asylum procedure and the material supports they require. Importantly, there must be standardisation in the documentation issued to asylum seekers as the Department of Social Protection would be as confused as the asylum seekers when receiving a weekly allowance claim from an asylum seeker with just a piece of paper or a TRC card that does not have an application date.
And an asylum seeker who arrived 6 months ago was refused a work permit because the date on their TRC card is the date they were given access to the asylum procedure. Meaning the weeks and months people spend in hotels may not count. The Minister must address this with urgency. We cannot have a situation where people are denied their basic rights on arrival.
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