By Staff Reporter
“Significant progress” in implementing the recommendations of the McMahon Report on Ireland’s direct provision system has been announced by the Department of Justice.
A total of 159 of the report’s 173 recommendations are now either implemented, partially implemented or are in progress, says Justice – noting this is “a significant increase” on the 80 per cent reported last June.
Tánaiste and Justice Minister Fitzgerald also confirmed that legal issues around the extension of the remit of the Offices of the Ombudsman and Children’s Ombudsman to include access for people in direct provision have now been clarified – and information will soon be available to residents in all direct provision centres.
The Tánaiste added that great strides have been made in dealing with legacy cases within the system.
A recent analysis within the department confirmed an average shortening of the length of time spent in direct provision, with a 55 per cent reduction in those in the system for three years or more, and a 58 per cent cut in those awaiting decisions on their cases for five years or more.
The implementation of the McMahon Report’s recommendations has not been without controversy, however.
While self-catering has been introduced at Mosney as part of a programme of “independent living” initiatives to improve living conditions across the system, residents complained to Metro Éireann of confusion at its initial rollout.
Lucky Khambule, co-ordinator of the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (Masi), says a lot remains to be done to help asylum seekers in the State.
“The International Protection Act was not in the report of the working group,” he notes, recalling that a number of working group members resigned over the issue.
Since the act passed into law, Khambule says unprecedented demands on resources means that many are unable to get legal advice before submitting documents.
While he adds that Masi welcomes the reduction in waiting times for those in direct provision, Khambule asks: “What is the timeline for the implementation of other recommendations?”
Among the more important things the Government could do, he says, is giving asylum seekers the right to work and access third-level education.