Statement on Access to the Asylum Procedure

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



2021, the year that has been…

As we close 2021, we reflect on what year has been for many of us, especially those who live in the abhorrent system of direct provision. We had to go through the pandemic the whole year with scary experiences in some centres.

At MASI we continued to provide a crucial support structure for international protection applicants in direct provision. Much of our organising had to move online throughout the pandemic. We held weekly meetings online which improved participation as people did not have to travel from a Direct Provision centre to get to a meeting. Our peer-to-peer support was intensified, particularly in education where asylum seekers were completely left of state supports. With our supporters, we provided hundreds of new laptops to students in Direct Provision and paid tuition fees for some to facilitate access to Third Level Education.

We continued with our collaboration with the Bohemian Football Club and BangBang. Through our sister group Every Child is Your child, we continued to support the back to school campaign making sure that children in Direct Provision have books and uniforms to get back to school.

MASI was honoured by the Bar of Ireland who awarded us the Human Rights Award for advocating for the rights of asylum seekers in Ireland and our role in campaigning for the end of Direct Provision for the past 7 years.

For years we campaigned for very basic things such as allowing asylum seekers to drive and open bank accounts with great resistance from the government. We welcomed the judgement by the high court ruling in favour of the asylum seeker who took the government to court for refusing to issue driving licences to them. This brought more joy and hope to many asylum seekers who have already started the process of getting a driving licence. Banks also announced that they would end years of discrimination and allow asylum seekers to open bank accounts.

We are encouraged by the regularisation schemes announced by the Minister for Justice. Thousands of undocumented people and asylum seekers will see an end to their precarious immigration status and embark on a path to Irish citizenship.

We look to the future with renewed hope that an asylum seeker who lands at an Irish port of entry will be treated much better than the past two decades. Thank you to everyone for the continued support of the work that MASI does.

May we see better days… #HappyNewYear

Lucky Khambule

MASI Coordinator.

”Human rights award for Movement of Asylum Seekers”

Credit: RTÉ News, Laura Fletcher.
Full article can be found on the RTÉ News website:

Thursday 25th November 2021

”The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland has been awarded the Council of the Bar of Ireland’s Human Rights Award for 2021.

It was presented to MASI representatives at a ceremony in Dublin today.

The award was in “recognition of their work with those in Direct Provision, and in the community, advocating for better legal and social protection, as well as access to State services, including education”.

MASI co-ordinator and the group’s co-founder, Lucky Khambule, said the accolade was a “tribute to tireless campaigners who gave so much of themselves to the movement”.

MASI was founded in 2014 to advocate for those living in Direct Provision and seeking asylum in Ireland.

Mr Khambule said its work was “driven by a burning desire to live in a more just and fairer society”.

He added: “Inspired by our lived experiences, MASI organised as a collective with a belief that we can shape our future.”

Maura McNally, Chair of The Bar of Ireland, with Bulelani Mfaco and Lucky Khambule

Barrister and Chair of the Bar Council’s Human Rights Committee, Joseph O’Sullivan, said MASI “campaigned on behalf of some of the most vulnerable people in our country”.

“MASI are to be congratulated for their unbending commitment to the welfare of those who are in Direct Provision, those who are seeking to integrate into the community; as well as being an important voice in policy debates and formulation,” he added.

Maura McNally SC, Chair of The Bar of Ireland, said MASI’s work on Direct Provision deserved special recognition.

Ms NcNally called for commitments under the White Paper on Direct Provision to be met and said MASI’s “steadfast campaigning and advocacy should serve as a vital reminder to politicians, lawyers and society in general of the importance of human rights, the bedrock of any democracy and rule of law”.

Previous recipients of the award include Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme (2020), Holocaust survivor Tomáš Reichental (2019), Cystic Fibrosis Advocate Orla Tinsley (2018) and historian Catherine Corless (2017).”

Statement on access to driving licence for asylum seekers

6 November 2021

The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) welcomes the high court’s ruling in a matter involving asylum seekers who were denied access to an Irish driving licence by the Road Safety Authority. The asylum seekers came to Ireland with South African driving licences. Ordinarily, a South African driving licence can be exchanged for an Irish driving licence. So the applicants applied to have theirs exchanged and the Road Safety Authority refused claiming that the applicants do not meet the residency requirement.

The Road Safety Authority has spent years refusing to issue a driving licence to asylum seekers on the grounds that they do not have ‘normal residence.’  And the only proof of residence they recognise from a non/EU national is the GNIB/Irish Residency Permit card which no asylum seeker has. This has meant that asylum seekers can spend years languishing in the abhorrent system of Direct Provision and they would not meet the residency requirement demanded by the Road Safety Authority.

The high court has ruled that asylum seekers do not to need another right to stay in Ireland other than the one they have as international protection applicants which satisfies the Road Safety Authority requirements in Irish law.

Thus, MASI calls on Minister Eamon Ryan to ensure that a swift and appropriate remedy is implemented to facilitate access to a driving licence by the many asylum seekers who need it. For MASI, the most appropriate remedy is for the Road Safety Authority to accept the Temporary Residency Card issued by the Minister for Justice as proof of residency with the PPS Card. These are documents every asylum seeker will have with exception of legacy cases and those at judicial review stage. The Minister for Justice must ensure that people in the State through the international protection process are issued with such residency documentation to prove their entitlement to be in the State, pending the determination of their legacy case or judicial review application.

The Catherine Day Advisory Group called on government to give asylum seekers access to a driving licence. The group further called on government to issue access to the labour market within 3 months on receipt of an asylum claim, and in the form of a GNIB/Irish Residency Permit card. The Irish Residency Permit card would address many barriers including access to a driving licence.

MASI rejects claims from Minister Eamon Ryan that there is a need to amend legislation in order for asylum seekers to have access to a driving licence. The only real reason the government wants to amend legislation is for the Minister to be granted the power to cancel a driving licence if an asylum seeker receives a negative final decision. That would be discriminatory since every other non-EU national who meets the residency requirements can get an Irish driving licence and leave Ireland with it. To cancel a driving licence issued to an asylum seeker merely because they have a deportation order would be unfair in those circumstances.

Lastly, MASI commends the asylum seekers, KOD Lyons Human Rights Solicitors, and the Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission, for their work on the case. It is sad that we have a government that is intent on treating asylum seekers differently when accessing public services. The fact that people who are deliberately placed on the margins of Irish society have to fight against the full might of the State in the courts for access to basic public services reflects badly on a nation that goes to the international arena claiming to be a champion of human rights.


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



Statement on hunger strike in Direct Provision

The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) is concerned for the well-being of Mr Nadim Hussain and would urge the Minister for Justice to expedite the Section 49 review process with a view of granting him permission to remain. MASI reiterates the call we made earlier for the Irish government to grant long-term residency (permission to remain) to all frontline workers with a precarious immigration permission in the State and workers without an immigration permission.

Receiving a negative decision in the international protection process has deeply negative effects on a person’s mental well-being. There are people who have died on foot of a negative decision in large part because of the traumatic experiences people have been through in their home countries. Thoughts of being forced to return to sites of trauma are themselves traumatic.

It is also important to remember that Ireland does not provide legal aid for an asylum seeker to challenge the appeal tribunal’s decisions in the high court. Thus, people like Mr. Hussain who may well have a winnable case end up being unjustly served with expulsion notices.

A hunger strike is an appeal to the good conscience of those who have the power to effect positive change. It is also an appeal to the collective conscience of Irish society to reflect on how asylum seekers are treated. MASI calls on the Irish government to provide legal aid for asylum seekers to challenge IPO and IPAT decisions in the high court. Absence of legal recourse leads to tragic circumstances for people who are directly affected by these decisions. MASI wishes to express solidarity with Nadim and all other frontline workers who face potential expulsion from the State after putting their lives on the line throughout the pandemic.


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



Comments on Regularisation

Submission to the Department of Justice | Regularisation of Undocumented People in Ireland | 17th May 2021

The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) welcomes plan to regularise undocumented people in Ireland. Noting that a survey amongst undocumented people showed that 9 in every 10 undocumented people are working, 1 and in solidarity with Justice for the Undocumented (JFU) who have campaigned for regularisation of undocumented people, MASI submits the following comments for the Minister to consider in crafting a regularisation scheme:

Continue reading

Bright’s Story

Bright has been in Direct Provision for 6 long years with no privacy, dignity and is not allowed to work. The Catherine Day Group said asylum seekers like Bright should be allowed to work. The Irish government has REFUSED to grant the right to work to many asylum seekers like Bright.


MASI calls for permission to remain for thousands of people in the asylum process

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.[1] 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.

Continue reading

Statement on White Paper to end Direct Provision

26th February 2021 at 10h00

The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) notes the publication of the White Paper on ending the abhorrent system of Direct Provision. MASI intends to discuss the White Paper at its weekly Tuesday meeting. At glance, there are some positives in the White Paper in relation to provision of income supports that are equal to the supports provided for Irish nationals. And the ending of shared intimate living spaces for families is to be welcomed. The White Paper is ambitious in some areas and lacks imagination in others. 

Continue reading

Petition: Citizenship for Children Born in Ireland to Non-EU/EEA Parents

To revoke deportation orders issued to children who were born in Ireland to non-EU/EEA parents.

Why is this important?
“Before the pandemic, a 10 year old child who was born and grew up in Ireland was deported to Nigeria. Today, more children who were born in Ireland face the threat of deportation.

Last year, Minister McEntee spoke in the Oireachtas and expressed support for a bill that seeks to provide a pathway to citizenship for children who are born in Ireland to non-EU/EEA nationals.

While the bill is not law yet, we are concerned that a number of children who were born in Ireland face the threat of deportation. Belkisa was still learning to walk on her own when she was served with a deportation order. And her baby brother Enis was born 6 months ago with a deportation order. Their parents are not allowed to work so that they can provide for their needs while in the State with a deportation order. Children grow up and their material needs grow each day.

Minister Helen McEntee has discretionary power to revoke this deportation order and grant the family permission to remain. This is a call to Minister McEntee to put to action the words she spoke in the Oireachtas when she expressed support for the Irish Nationality and Citizenship (Naturalisation of Minors Born in Ireland) Bill 2018. Revoke the deportation orders, and provide a pathway to citizenship for children born in Ireland to non-EU/EEA parents.”

Statement on Una McGurk’s disgraceful decision on bisexual Nigerian man

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.

Continue reading

Statement on changes to the right to work for asylum seekers

Press Statement: 28th January 2021

The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) is appalled by the decision to reduce the waiting time to 6 months. There is no plausible justification for keeping people out of work. In May last year, Catherine Day who chaired the advisory group that was reviewing Ireland’s asylum reception system recommended that asylum seekers be allowed to work within 3 months from the date of applying for protection in Ireland; that the permit is issued in the form of a GNIB/Irish Residency Permit Card; the permit is valid for 12 months and renewable; and it is issued to all asylum seekers in Direct Provision who haven’t received a final decision on their asylum claim. Catherine Day further called on the government to give asylum seekers access to bank accounts and driving licences.

Continue reading

MASI calls on the Minister of Justice to review asylum interviews and decisions

Press StatementMonday 26th January 2021 

The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) is appalled by yet another decision issued by the International Protection Office (IPO) in the Department of Justice which would lead to the deportation of an LGBTQ+ asylum seeker because the Irish State finds it implausible that a young gay man would have sex with another man in a country where the law and custom forbid it (see paragraph 9 here).

Continue reading

Statement on Expulsion notices and deportation orders

Press Statement: 18th of January 2021

The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) welcomes the decision taken by the Minister for Justice to review the expulsion notices that were given to asylum-seeking healthcare workers. The two migrant healthcare workers who initially spoke out against this appalling decision to expel them from Ireland have since been granted leave to remain. The expulsion notices that were served on migrant healthcare workers who had dedicated their lives to protecting vulnerable Irish nationals in nursing homes were simply cruel. They caused a lot of distress on those directly affected and should never have happened.

Continue reading

Inside Ireland’s System of Direct Provision: Christmas Supper is Served Cold

For many people around the world, Christmas is a time spent enjoying a feast and exchanging gifts with loved ones. Each household has their thing that makes this time feel special. Displaced people usually find this time difficult as they are often away from loved ones with legal barriers keeping them apart. For me and my mother, Christmas meant we would be at home doing the things we never got around to throughout the year – moving the furniture around and painting and redecorating our rooms.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Statement on the Programme for Government

The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland welcomes the inclusion of ending the abhorrent system of Direct Provision in the negotiated programme for government. For the first time since the system of Direct Provision was introduced 20 years ago, there is acceptance that it cannot go on any longer. MASI commends the Green Party for their insistence that ending Direct Provision must be included in the programme for government. The recognition that capital investment will be required in order to move to a more humane asylum reception process and an end to the profiteering racket that is Direct Provision is welcomed as a point of departure.

Continue reading

Comments on the government’s response to Covid-19 in Direct Provision

Submitted to the Special Committee on Covid-19
Prepared by Bulelani Mfaco, May 2020
With thanks to MASI members, asylum seekers in Cahersiveen and Sasha Brown for their contributions

Pre Covid-19 Conditions in Direct Provision

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, life in Direct Provision was difficult. One of the fundamental flaws in abhorrent system of Direct Provision is the congregated nature of for-profit centres with often crammed conditions where asylum seekers are forced to exist in for years on end while waiting for a decision on their asylum claims.

Read more by downloading the full document below….

Petition: Move Asylum Seekers out of Direct Provision Centres

To: Dept of Justice & Dept of Health

Urgently move people living in Direct Provision centres to accommodation where they can live with dignity and safety.
Right now people seeing asylum are at high risk of contracting Covid19 because of the inhumane conditions in Direct Provision centres.

Why is this important?

People including small children are living in overcrowded rooms, with no privacy or space for self-isolation.
The spread of Covid19 is very high in congregated settings and the treatment of people seeking asylum is inhumane.
This is a public health and human rights issue and urgent action is needed.
People seeking asylum need to be in self-contained accommodation where families can live together and people do not have to share with non-family members.

Sign petition here:


Statement on the HSE and Department of Justice and Equality measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 in Direct Provision.

The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland is disappointed to see the government putting a spin on the inability of asylum seekers in many Direct Provision centres to observe social distancing. Asylum seekers in Direct Provision centres across Ireland have to share bedrooms, communal toilets, communal showers, communal kitchens, and canteens with strangers who have their own lives. This makes it impossible to observe social distancing.

Continue reading

Statement on the handling of deaths in the asylum process.

The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland is concerned about the manner in which the Department of Justice and Equality handles deaths in Direct Provision. In November last year, MASI received a message from an asylum seeker who wanted to know what happens when a person dies in the asylum process. Would they, like Sylva Tukula who died in a Direct Provision centre, be buried in an unmarked mass grave without friends, family and ceremony? Fortunately the asylum seeker who had to think about death had a family member that had been ill for some time and were new in the country. Thus the question of being buried in a mass grave does not arise for them. But they had to ask this question because the Department of Justice and Equality has never been transparent about deaths in the asylum reception system. Many asylum seekers are not familiar with procedures to be followed, especially when they wish to have remains repatriated. This is because the Department of Justice and Equality has not published information regarding deaths in Direct Provision which would provide answers to many of these questions.  

Continue reading
« Older posts

© 2024 MASI

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑