Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Equality, Integration and Immigration, Fiona O’Loughlin has said that while the recent commencement of new asylum application processes is welcome, a greater focus needs to be placed on the 4470 people currently living in Direct Provision who are waiting on a decision on their asylum application.

“The International Protection Act 2015 is a progressive piece of legislation, and one which when implemented in full streamline the application processes for all involved, and ultimately reduce the time people spend in direct provision centres.

“However, the new Act will only apply to new applications, so the 4470 people currently awaiting a decision on their asylum application must follow the old ‘multi-layered’ system.”

“This is both unfair and inefficient, and the Department of Justice must work over the next 12 months to significantly reduce the numbers awaiting a decision.

“Additional resources need to be provided to ensure that those currently in the system do not have to wait any longer than is absolutely necessary to receive a decision on their application. At present, the average waiting time is 70 weeks for an asylum decision.

“The International Protection Act will make a difference to future asylum seekers, and those seeking the protection of Ireland as they flee oppression and terror. However, we cannot forget about those who are in the system today, and who need a decision on their applications,” concluded O’Loughlin.