We owe asylum seekers more than money
2017-07-05 11:36:20 -
Last month, new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, along with Tánaiste (and then Justice Minister) Frances Fitzgerald, announced a small increment in the weekly welfare payments for people living in direct provision.

From 1 August, more than 4,000 people are expected to benefit from the increase of €2.50 weekly for adults and €6 for children on rates that had been static since the direct provision system to house asylum applicants was introduced at the turn of the century.

In a statement announcing the increases, the Taoiseach said it was “an important measure” that “will benefit everyone living within the direct provision system by providing more disposable income.”

While we welcome the rise, we do not believe that it goes far enough. It marks the first increase in the adult allowance, which until now has been €19.10 per week since it was introduced more than 17 years ago; the children’s rate was only recently increased from the €9.60 set in 2000 to €15.60 per child in January 2016. They deserve more than this. 

And not just in benefit payments. We must remember that the vast majority of adults in the direct provision system are capable of entering the workforce but are prevented from doing so. They would have little to no recourse to public funds if they were given the opportunity to seek gainful employment while their cases are being decided.

We hope, in light of this, that the Taoiseach will address the recent judgment of the Supreme Court which has found the ban on employment for asylum seekers to be unconstitutional.

TAGS : Leo Varadkar Taoiseach Asylum Seekers
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