Understanding the Increases in Direct Provision Allowance for Asylum Seekers

END DPFrom August 2017, asylum seekers in Ireland will receive increases to the direct provision allowance payments. For adults, this is the first increase to direct provision allowance in 17 years. For children, this is the second increase in direct provision allowance since 2000. Adult asylum seekers and child asylum seekers will now receive €21.60 per week, an increase of €2.50 for adults, and an increase of €6 for children.

In June 2017, I submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Department of Social Protection seeking to understand what the rationale for these small increases were. The Department’s response to the FOI request, provides some further understanding as to why the the child direct provision allowances were equalised, however the documentation received fails to provide a clear rationale for the increases in adult direct provision allowances.

Before getting to the most relevant documents, it is important to note that the McMahon Report on direct provision made very few unqualified recommendations: but did in an unequivocal manner recommend that adult asylum seekers be provided with an allowance of €38.74 per week, and children with an allowance of €29.80 per week in June 2015. The increases in direct provision allowance fall far short of this recommendation. (I should acknowledge my significant concerns regarding the McMahon Report and its recommendations from a human rights perspective. See Subprime for excellent analysis on the McMahon Report and its impact. See also Doras Luimni’s analysis of improvements with the direct provision system). In July 2017, the Department of Justice has claimed in its final progress report on the McMahon Recommendations that 98% of all the recommendations from the McMahon report have been implemented, or are in the process of being implemented. Some questions have been raised by NASC in relation to the Department of Justice claims on their 2nd progress report (which stated 92% of all recommendations implemented). Focusing solely on direct provision payment, calculations by Department of Social Protection on 08 June 2017, noted that the cost of implementing the McMahon direct provision increases would be under €3.7 million per year [See document [1] here]. Continue reading “Understanding the Increases in Direct Provision Allowance for Asylum Seekers”

Understanding the Increases in Direct Provision Allowance for Asylum Seekers

Children's Rights Alliance UNCRC Film Project: Funding Appeal

We are delighted to welcome the following post by Edel Quinn. Edel  is a member of the Legal and Policy team at the Children’s Rights Alliance.  The Alliance is a coalition of over 100 organisations working to secure the rights of children in Ireland, by campaigning for the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It aims to improve the lives of all children under 18, through securing the necessary changes in Ireland’s laws, policies and services.Legal and Policy Officer with the Children’s Rights Alliance. You can read more about Edel and see her previous guest posts on the Contributors’ page.

The voice of the child is a fundamental principle of the UN Convention and in Ireland we are starting to tune in, and pay attention to the views of children and young people. To build on this beginning it is important to continue to give them a platform, and now is the time to give them their voice.

Working with a group of young people, Children’s Right Alliance has a plan to leverage this voice.  We have just launched an exciting new film project, spearheaded by a group of young people that will be premiered in early 2013.  This short film will explore the effects of Ireland’s 1992 ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, on its laws, policies, and services, as well as on children and young people themselves. This film will be a celebration of the UN Convention and our journey so far in securing its full implementation, here in Ireland. Continue reading “Children's Rights Alliance UNCRC Film Project: Funding Appeal”

Children's Rights Alliance UNCRC Film Project: Funding Appeal

Quinn: Next Steps for Children's Rights in Ireland

Edel Quinn is a member of the Legal and Policy team at the Children’s Rights Alliance.  The Alliance is a coalition of over 100 organisations working to secure the rights of children in Ireland, by campaigning for the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It aims to improve the lives of all children under 18, through securing the necessary changes in Ireland’s laws, policies and services.

Saturday, 12 November 2012 was an historic day for children in this country.  The people of Ireland voted in favour of the 31st amendment to the Constitution to strengthen the rights of children in the Irish Constitution.  While the Children’s Referendum was passed by a modest majority of 58% to 42%, the Children’s Rights Alliance remains optimistic about the potential of the amendment for progressing children’s rights in the State.

Of course, the amendment alone is not going to address all of the gaps in the protection of children’s rights in Ireland today: much work remains to be done.  Our attention now shifts towards actively lobbying for key actions to bring the amendment to life, and ensure that it truly makes a difference to the lives of children in Ireland.

Next Steps:

1. Timely introduction of specific legislation to give effect to the constitutional provisions.  The new article employs a novel, though not unprecedented, approach to a number of the rights provided therein.  Some provisions are not constitutional directives Continue reading “Quinn: Next Steps for Children's Rights in Ireland”

Quinn: Next Steps for Children's Rights in Ireland

The Children's Referendum: The Time is now for Children’s Rights in our Constitution

Edel Quinn is a member of the Legal and Policy team at the Children’s Rights Alliance.  The Alliance is a coalition of over 100 organisations working to secure the rights of children in Ireland, by campaigning for the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It aims to improve the lives of all children under 18, through securing the necessary changes in Ireland’s laws, policies and services.

It may not feel like it, but we are living in privileged times.  In two weeks’ from now, on Saturday 10 November, we will be presented with an historic opportunity to amend our Constitution to strengthen the rights of the children of Ireland.  It was over 30 years ago that the first call to do so was made by then Senator and former President Mary Robinson.  This call was repeated by various official reports, such as the Kilkenny Incest Investigation Report in 1993, the Constitution Review Group in 1996 and that of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2006.  In spite of the 17 statutory reports detailing the abuse suffered by children in Ireland over the past four decades that flagged the Constitution as a problem, this is the first time that such an amendment will be put to the people.  The Children’s Referendum is possible today because of a unique set of circumstances: the achievement of a workable framework for the amendment, an amenable political environment, public awareness and will for change.

The Children’s Rights Alliance has been lobbying hard for constitutional change since its establishment in 1995.  Over the past seven years, the Alliance has made key interventions to the various Ministers as well as the Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children to advocate for a comprehensive amendment.  We have previously made the case for reform on this blog and while the final amendment is not as strong as we would have liked, we believe it deserves our full backing.  The judiciary will ultimately Continue reading “The Children's Referendum: The Time is now for Children’s Rights in our Constitution”

The Children's Referendum: The Time is now for Children’s Rights in our Constitution

The Children's Referendum: Why is Campaign for Children calling for a Yes vote in the Referendum?

Katie Mannion is Legal Researcher at Campaign for Children, a public information campaign on children’s rights in Ireland. Campaign for Children is committed to an Ireland where children are recognised and respected as full individuals within society. During 2012, Campaign for Children organised seminars on children’s rights including a legal conference on Best Interests and the Voice of the Child. Currently Campaign for Children is leading the national campaign for a Yes vote in the children’s rights referendum together with Barnardos, ISPCC and the Children’s Rights Alliance.

Together with Barnardos, Children’s Rights Alliance and ISPCC , Campaign for Children is leading Yes for Children, a national campaign calling for a Yes vote in the children’s rights referendum. We believe this referendum is an historic opportunity to ensure that this and future generations of children in Ireland are better protected, respected and heard.

Why?

A clear statement in the Constitution of the rights of children as individuals will signify and solidify Ireland’s commitment to protecting and vindicating children’s rights. As far back as 1993, our Chair, Judge Catherine McGuinness called for constitutional amendment to include a statement of the constitutional rights of children. The Constitution is not only our basic law but also sets out the principles behind law and a framework for our society. Through voting ‘Yes’ on 10th November, we can be assured that the future drafters of legislation and future courts will be bound to consider the impact of their decisions on children.

As well as being a legal document, the Constitution is also a political document which sets out our values as a society. Whereas respect for the protection and participation rights of children and young people was not a common feature of discourse in the Continue reading “The Children's Referendum: Why is Campaign for Children calling for a Yes vote in the Referendum?”

The Children's Referendum: Why is Campaign for Children calling for a Yes vote in the Referendum?

The kids are all right? The case for constitutional reform.

We are delighted to welcome this guest post from Edel Quinn. Edel is a member of the Legal and Policy team at the Children’s Rights Alliance.  The Alliance is a coalition of over 100 organisations working to secure the rights of children in Ireland, by campaigning for the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  It aims to improve the lives of all children under 18, through securing the necessary changes in Ireland’s laws, policies and services.

The referendum on a constitutional amendment on children’s rights is just around the corner.  Holding the referendum on Saturday 10 November 2012 is a welcome development and will allow young people in particular the opportunity to travel home to vote and ensure that children do not miss out on a day of school.  With the wording of the proposed amendment and accompanying adoption legislation expected to be published later today, in this post we explore the key issues at the heart of the debate and the potential impact of change.  One of the founding objectives of the Children’s Rights Alliance when it was established 17 years ago was to seek an amendment to the Constitution of Ireland to strengthen the rights of children.  The Alliance has engaged in extensive advocacy on this issue in particular over the last six years since the publication of its second shadow report on Ireland to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2006.

Continue reading “The kids are all right? The case for constitutional reform.”

The kids are all right? The case for constitutional reform.

Universal Periodic Review and Reception of Asylum Seekers

Human Rights in Ireland is pleased to bring you this guest post from Claire McCarthy, Policy & Campaigning Officer, at Nasc, The Irish Immigrant Support Centre.

Ireland’s human rights record will be examined by our peers in the UN this coming October, when our turn comes up in a new UN process called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Human rights organisations have submitted their concerns and recommendations for the consideration of the country representatives who will examine our record. Having examined most of them, the reception of asylum seekers appears to be by far the most widespread concern, affecting as it does children’s rights, women’s rights, mental health, social inclusion and general civil liberties. A range of organisations concerned with Ireland’s human rights standards have already made  submissions that will inform the country representatives who will ask questions, and make recommendations to Ireland about how we might improve our human rights record. Some of those organisations have taken the opportunity presented by the UPR to consult with as many concerned citizens as possible in order to prepare truly representative submissions. You may have Continue reading “Universal Periodic Review and Reception of Asylum Seekers”

Universal Periodic Review and Reception of Asylum Seekers

Child Trafficking: Whose Problem to Solve? – Public Discussion

The Children’s Rights Alliance and Comhlámh are co-hosting a public discussion on child trafficking entitled “Child Trafficking – Whose Problem to Solve?” This forms part of the Children’s Rights Alliance’s work on The Body Shop‘s Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People campaign. The event will take place in Bewley’s Cafe Theatre, Grafton Street, Dublin 2 between 6.15pm and 7.45pm on Wednesday February 2, 2011.

Jillian van Turnhout, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, will chair the discussion. Guest speakers will include Muireann Ní Raghallaigh, Lecturer in the School of Applied Social Science, UCD and Albert Llussa, Solicitor who will use their expertise on immigration issues to debate the theme of the evening. This will be followed by an open Q&A session in which the audience is encouraged to get involved.

Tea and coffee will be provided and entrance is free. However, as space is limited admission for the public will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Child Trafficking: Whose Problem to Solve? – Public Discussion

SCS on Children's Rights: Van Turnhout on Care

HRinI is pleased to present this post by Jillian Van Turnhout, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance as part of our SCS on Children’s Rights. Please read more about Jillian on our Guest Contributors page.

It’s summer time; school is out and the sun is shining – on and off.  For most of Ireland’s one million children, the summer means having fun on holidays with their families.  However, for 5,700 children, holiday time may not be so straightforward.  They may spend it with their foster families or go on a trip with their residential home; it may be a time for access visits to their families; or it may be business as usual, trying to navigate the homeless hostel scene.  These are Ireland’s care children and, for them, life can be good but it can also be very bleak.  Continue reading “SCS on Children's Rights: Van Turnhout on Care”

SCS on Children's Rights: Van Turnhout on Care

Specialist Contributors Series on Children's Rights

HRinI is delighted to present the first Special Contributors Series on Children’s Rights. The SCS will host regular ‘post clusters’ on children’s rights, entitlements and services by both members of the HRinI team and specialists on these issues. The first SCS includes posts by Patricia Lewsley (Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People), Jillian Van Turnhout (Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance), Dr. Aoife Nolan (QUB & HRinI) and Liam Thornton (UU & HRinI). It also includes an extremely interesting interview with Emily Logan the Ombudsman for Children and Young People.

Specialist Contributors Series on Children's Rights