People fleeing persecution deserve help
Ireland has opted into the EU Reception Conditions Directive and Fianna Fáil welcomed this decision. We believe that there is a need for significant reforms required to support those seeking protection in Ireland.
The establishment of a Standards Advisory Group to set standards for those living in direct provision is important as asylum seekers cannot be allowed to be accommodated in conditions that are sub-standard.Fianna Fáil is committed to ensuring that the standards would be reviewed at least every five years so as to ensure the standards keep raising.
The increase in the weekly payment for adults and children living in direct provision provided for in Budget 2019 was only the second ever increase in the rate since direct provision was introduced in 2000. Fianna Fáil believes that this rate should be reviewed at least every three years.
There is no doubt that the situation in direct provision is made worse by the long delays: the average wait for an interview is 19 months. The protection process must be adequately resourced to ensure that these wait times are reduced.
Fianna Fáil supports the continuation of the pilot Student Support Scheme operated by the Department of Education for students in the protection systems that are pursuing post leaving certificate education should be upgraded to a permanent scheme, rather than a “pilot”.
There also needs to be a significant loosening of requirements: the residency requirement should be reduced from 5 years to 3 years, and the requirement for time spent in the school system should be reduced from 5 years to 2 years.
Fianna Fáil welcomed the introduction of work permits for those in the asylum process. This needs to be kept under review as already there have been some concerns about it being too restrictive.
Fianna Fáil’s plan to support Asylum Seekers
Review living standards
Ensure that a review of the national standards for those living in direct provision would be carried out at least every five years.
Speed up the process
Properly resource the protection process to reduce delays.
More support for students
Extend the Student Support Scheme to support asylum seekers seeking to continue to third level education.
Review work permit rules
Review and amend the rules surrounding work permits for those in the asylum process and review ancillary issues which are currently making the right to work inaccessible.