IRISH-BORN children only a few months old are being individually placed in the asylum process despite never having left Ireland.
The Irish Refugee Council (IRC) is to raise the issue, which is leading to significant delays in the asylum process, with the Department of Justice.
The individual designation of young children born in their resident state as asylum seekers deviates from best practice in other EU states, where children are treated as family dependents.
IRC chief executive Sue Conlan said: “We are currently gathering information on this issue. My concern is those that are being required to place their children in this system when they don’t want to, creating greater delays in the asylum process and upsetting parents.”
Several asylum-seeking families in direct provision centres, including Mosney in Co Meath and St Patrick’s in Monaghan, have raised the issue of Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) officials demanding they place young children into the asylum system which sees them issued with microchip cards.
Caesar Carlos, 33, a Monaghan-based asylum-seeker from Guyana in South America, said he was angered that his nine-month-old son, Benjamin, had been forced to seek asylum and was issued with a photo and microchip ID card.
“Why is my son being forced to become an asylum seeker – he is only a child, born in Ireland.”
Another asylum seeker, also based in Monaghan who did not wish to be named, said: “They force you to get your kid to seek asylum, even though it is clear they have not faced persecution in my home country. Why are they doing this?”
He added that repair works were only being done to his direct provision centre for the first time in years this week, in the run-up to a visit by a Dáil committee investigating asylum seeker conditions.
The issue of nearly 6,000 people being maintained in the controversial direct provision system, where asylum seekers are provided with accommodation and weekly cash payments of €19.10 per adult and €9.60 per child, re-emerged last month when over 100 people were ordered to move from the RIA centre in Mosney to Dublin.
The vast majority of those who were to be moved to a smaller centre at Hatch Hall in the centre of Dublin have refused to leave.
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