Wednesday 28 September 2016

President convenes meeting of Council of State to determine if International Protection Bill should be referred to Supreme Court

Published 23/12/2015 | 19:30

President Michael D Higgins. Photo: PA
President Michael D Higgins. Photo: PA

President Michael D Higgins has convened a meeting of the Council of State to determine if the International Protection Bill should be referred to the Supreme Court.

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It is only the second time President Higgins has convened a meeting of the Council since he assumed office in November 2011.

The meeting will take place in Áras an Uachtaráin on December 29th.

The Council of State includes the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste, the Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil, the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the President of the High Court, and the Attorney General.

The Government says the Bill will bring Ireland’s asylum application procedures into line with other European states, and is the single most important reform in this  area.

It will introduce a single application procedure, to reduce the length of time that people applying for international protection, spend in the system.

The Government insists the introduction of the single procedure will allow it to efficiently grant international protection to those who are entitled to it.

It would also expedite the process of identifying those who have no entitlement to remain in Ireland, and who can safely return to their country of origin.

There have been 29 meetings of the Council since 1940.

In 2013, President Higgins convened a meeting of the Council, to consider the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, following its passing by the Dáil and Seanad.

Former office holders including all surviving former Taosaigh, former Presidents, and former Chief Justices, also serve on the Council, plus seven of the President's own nominees.

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