On the 60th anniversary of Ireland becoming a member of the United Nations, refugees recognised by the UN and selected for residence in Ireland have been denied their legal entitlement to full social welfare payment according to information confirmed by the Irish Refugee Council and Doras Luimní.
The first refugees started arriving a few months ago and were placed in Hazel Hotel, Monasterevin, Co. Kildare, but, contrary to their legal entitlement to full social welfare, they have only been receiving allowances of €19.10 per adult and €9.60 per child, the allowances for asylum seekers awaiting a decision on their protection or leave to remain applications.
In answer to a Parliamentary Question from Thomas Pringle TD on 9th December, Kevin Humphreys, Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection, whilst stating that individual payments to residents at Hazel Hotel were between the Department and individuals, confirmed their entitlement to a variety of payments, including supplementary welfare allowance and, if relevant, child benefit.
Sue Conlan, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, said: “The government heralded the establishment of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme as part of its contribution to the refugee crisis in Europe and was at pains to distinguish it from the discredited Direct Provision system. It is clear that refugees arriving in Ireland, people with full refugee status before arrival in the country, are being denied their full entitlement, calling into question the legality of the decisions by the Department of Social Protection and demonstrating that the new Emergency Reception and Orientation Centres are in fact no different to Direct Provision centres.”
Leonie Kerins, Co-Director of Doras Luimní which works with both asylum seekers and resettled programme refugees, said “the denial of the full entitlement to social welfare for programme refugees is a fundamental breach of their rights. Refugees need to begin to regain control over their own lives as soon as possible on their arrival in the state and that it currently is being denied to them. This must have been a conscious decision and it is essential that their full social welfare entitlement is re-instated immediately.”
Conlan added: “Ireland’s track record on human rights abroad needs to be matched by the treatment of people in Ireland. The many Irish people that have, in words and action, made it clear that “refugees are welcome in Ireland” will not see this as a proper Irish response to the current crisis.”
Sue Conlan, CEO, Irish Refugee Council, 085 803 0114
Leonie Kerins, Co-Director, Doras Luimní, 087 744 7961
See editors notes with full statement here: Joint IRC and Doras Luimni statement