Sinn Féin spokesperson on Equality, Integration and Law Reform, Pa Daly TD, has questioned the government’s commitment to reform in the area of asylum.
Speaking after the announcement of a review into rejections of Leave to Remain applications, Teachta Daly said:
“The details of the cases we have heard of over the past number of days tell their own story.
“International protection applicants living in Direct Provision deserve dignity at all times. The pandemic and their living conditions has already done so much to deprive them of this.
“These notices would do much to cause anxiety and stress, but given the current situation, creating this risk to the health of asylum seekers is unconscionable.
“Arranging to leave the country or being deported are both actions which would increase contacts hugely and impact on the ability to self-quarantine for those who may need to do so.
“The whole affair also casts serious doubts on the government’s commitment to ending Direct Provision in a humane manner.
“The recent report of the Advisory Group is clear and unambiguous on this matter and makes recommendations that Leave to Remain must be granted to anyone who has spent more than 2 years in the Direct Provision system.
“Other applicants must also be looked at urgently and be given the same permission, especially those who have worked within healthcare and other dangerous frontline services.
“This recommendation could be implemented by the Minister for Justice directly and swiftly, and the report rightly states this. A review into the issuing of these notices does not go far enough and raises the obvious question of just how serious the government’s intentions are?
“If they are not willing to implement an obvious and humane recommendation within the report, how can they be trusted to end the Direct Provision system in the proper manner?”