Chairman provides ministers with report on asylum-seeker system

The chairman of a government-appointed group on protection and the asylum-seeker system has said he hopes the content of its report is published soon, after it was given to the ministers responsible.

Chairman provides ministers with report on asylum-seeker system

Dr Bryan McMahon submitted the final report of the working group on the protection process to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Minister of State for New Communities Aodhán Ó’Ríordáin on Tuesday.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including suggestions that asylum seekers be allowed to work after a period of nine months and an easier path to residency for asylum seekers waiting five or more years for their claims to be handled.

The weekly allowances paid to asylum seekers would also double to €38.74 under the proposals, with a trebling of the amount provided for children to €29.80.

Younger asylum seekers would also have the same access to third-level education as Irish students while the Ombudsman for Children would be granted powers to investigate issues in the direct provision system under the group’s recommendations.

In a statement issued on the Department of Justice website, Dr McMahon said he “expressed the hope that the report would be published speedily, particularly as it is anxiously awaited by those most directly concerned with its contents — the residents of the direct provision accommodation centres”.

The report is likely to go before the Cabinet next week and its contents published, before the recommendations are considered.

Dr McMahon acknowledged the invaluable input of the residents in compiling the report, which involved dozens of meetings.

There were some departures from the expert group during the course of its work, including that of Sue Conlon of the Irish Refugee Council.

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