Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Equality, Fiona O’Loughlin TD has said that while Budget 2019 appears to mark a positive shift in the Government’s attitude towards those struggling in direct provision, the work to improve conditions has yet to begin.

A 2015 report by former judge, Bryan McMahon recommended a series of improvements to Direct Provision and the supports available to asylum seekers in Ireland. It was announced this afternoon that as part of next year’s Budget, there will be an increase in the weekly daily expenses allowance for adults and children living in direct provision.

Deputy O’Loughlin said, “More than three years have passed since the McMahon report was published, and finally Fine Gael is beginning to recognise the need to implement the 173 key changes it included.

“The decision to increase the weekly allowance coupled with the lift on restrictions to refugees working, are both positive moves in the right direction. However, significant issues remain in the direct provision system, not least the length of time that the asylum process takes and the ongoing problems with capacity.

“We have committed to bringing the International Protection (Family Reunification) (Amendment) Bill 2017 through the Dáil to reverse amendments introduced by the Government in 2015. These amendments heavily restrict those that are eligible to apply for asylum to join their family in Ireland and also shortens the time frame within which such applications can be made.

“Refugees and asylum seekers take enormous risks to reach safety here in Ireland and have very often experienced unimaginable hardship. As a caring and peaceful country we have an absolute responsibility to support the full integration of those desperately seeking a haven free from war and destitution.

“This Government needs to better reflect the compassion of Irish people by drastically improving the direct provision system and the conditions they live in beyond this Budget’s slight increase in their allowance to survive.”