· 140 of 173 recommendations implemented, partially implemented or in progress. Continued focus on the remaining recommendations
· Over two thirds of persons identified in the Report as being over 5 years in the DP system have now had their cases completed
· 87% of people granted status moved in to the wider community within six months
16 June 2016
The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD and the Minister of State for Equality, Migration and Integration, David Stanton TD have provided a progress update on the Report of the Working Group on Improvements to the Protection Process, including Direct Provision and other Supports for Asylum Seekers at a meeting of NGOs today (Thursday).
The Report, which was published in June 2015, made 173 recommendations. A total of 91 have been implemented, a further 49 recommendations have been partially implemented or are in progress, and the balance remain under consideration.
The Tánaiste, speaking after meeting a number of members of NGOs who participated in the Working Group, said: “This represents significant progress in the past 11 months in taking forward the Working Group recommendations, with 80% now implemented, partially implemented or in progress.
“A key recommendation of the Working Group was the introduction of a single application procedure for the protection process. The International Protection Act 2015, which provides for such a procedure, was signed into law last December and my Department is currently preparing all steps necessary to commence the Act later this year. The Act responds to 26 of the Working Group’s recommendations and can be expected to positively address the crucial issue of the length of time that applicants spend in the process and in the Direct Provision system; another key concern of the Working Group.
“A substantial number of people who were greater than five years in the system now dealt with and is estimated that over two thirds of those identified in the Report as being over 5 years in the Direct Provision system have now had their cases processed to completion. This has been a key achievement that has had a real impact on many people and families. This work will continue.
Last year a transition Task Force was put in place to examine the important supports needed to facilitate people with status to integrate into the community. The Task Force reported that 87% of people granted status had moved into the wider community within six months.
There has also been progress towards improving the daily lives of asylum seekers in Ireland while their application is being processed is also being made. In January, the Tánaiste announced an increase to the Direct Provision Allowance for children, the first such increase since the introduction of the payment some sixteen years ago. Prescription fees for all Direct Provision residents, both adults and children, have also been waived. More communal kitchens are now available than when the Working Group was established and this matter is subject to an ongoing review.
The Tánaiste said “I have also committed to extending the remit of the Offices of the Ombudsman and the Ombudsman for Children to include access for residents in Direct Provision centres. This requires amending legislation which will be processed as soon as possible. My colleague, the Minister for Education and Skills, has also recently announced a second year of their pilot support scheme for students in the protection system for the academic year 2016/2017"
“I welcome this progress and am determined to implement this report in full as soon as possible.”
The Minister of State for Equality, Migration and Integration, David Stanton TD said, "a significant amount of work has been done on implementing the Report's recommendations. I am committed to taking this work forward, particularly in respect of improving the conditions of families and children in the Direct Provision system as outlined in the Programme for Government”.
A summary of the status of the Working Group recommendations can be accessed via the following link.