Roundtable: asylum on the island of Ireland
On 27 June, Law Centre (NI) and Irish Refugee Council held a roundtable discussion at Stormont Castle, 'seeking asylum on the island of Ireland: an opportunity for learning’.
The discussion was hosted by Junior Ministers Jennifer McCann and Jonathan Bell.
Participants heard perspectives on the asylum system in both jurisdictions by refugees, lawyers, parliamentarians and community workers. Maria Hennessy from European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) presented an overview of the new Dublin Regulation III, the legal framework for transferring asylum seekers from one European country to another.
Participants outlined challenges in both jurisdictions including, in the North, destitution, delays in decision making and difficulties in communication with the Home Secretary; in the South, the system of Direct Provision and the myriad of hardships it causes; in both jurisdictions, poor access to legal advice.
The Law Centre and Irish Refugee Council hope that we will have further opportunities to work with government officials and politicians in order to address some of the problems highlighted.