INTRODUCTION & CONTEXT
Ireland’s immigration system is based on the issuing of temporary residence permits, many granted at the discretion of the Minister for Justice, without clearly defined rules or rights. Lack of clear rules and decision-making based on discretion creates the conditions under which applications can take years, literally, to process. Ireland’s protection system is also fraught with lengthy delays in decision-making and lack of transparency. The result is costly and inefficient immigration and protection systems that can cause enormous hardship for the people involved. Lack of transparency in the immigration and asylum decision making processes has created an over reliance on the courts for adjudication.
Over the past 10 years, Irish governments have sought to overhaul Ireland’s immigration and protection systems. We acknowledge the work that has been done so far in this regard. Three versions of the Immigration, Residence and Protection (IRP) Bill were produced each, we believe, with very serious short-comings. The current Government has re-introduced the IRP Bill 2010 at Committee Stage and foreshadowed significant amendments. This represents an opportunity for a new approach to immigration and protection that will address previously identified flaws, such as, lack of transparency, lack of fairness, inefficiency and costly reliance on the courts.
This NGO coalition has set out briefly below key areas of suggested reform. Each of the NGOs in the coalition is happy to provide more details about these and other issues that fall under their remit.