Thursday 17 August 2017

Ireland must change our treatment of asylum seekers

Aodhan O Riordain
Aodhan O Riordain

EVERY now and then a politician says something which is of real substance. Forget publicity stunts like "inspecting" US planes in Shannon for arms or flag waving protests in the Dail Chamber.

I am referring to the life altering statement this week by newly appointed Minister of State at the Department of Justice Aodhan O'Riordain that it is a "priority" of the Government under the revised programme to reform the Direct Provision System for asylum seekers in Ireland.

As a former Minister of State with responsibility for Human Rights I have long been critical of the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers by successive Irish governments, including that of which I was a part. In the late nineties, faced with a significant "influx" in the numbers seeking asylum in Ireland the Department of Justice was in crisis defence mode.

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