Nasc calls on the Minister for Justice to take immediate action to address the backlog of international protection cases
Figures released from the Department of Justice via Parliamentary Question show that the median waiting time for international protection applicants going though the non-prioritised application process to receive the first decision on their application from the International Protection Office is 24 months.
4,430 people are now waiting for a decision from the International Protection Office.
Since the publication of the White Paper on Ending Direct Provision in February 2021, Nasc have repeatedly outlined our concerns that the White Paper does not adequately address concerns about the backlog of cases. The Department of Justice have pushed off a review of their management of the backlog until October 2022 and have not committed to implementing the Day Report recommendation to introduce a case processing panel with a view to granting anyone in the system for two years or longer (at the time of the report publication in September 2020) a permission to remain in the State.
Nasc’s CEO Fiona Finn comments,
“The figures today really highlight how dysfunctional the international protection application system is. There are over 4,000 lives on hold because of the extraordinary delays in the system. This is deeply unfair on applicants who have been stuck in the system through no fault of their own, many of whom have spent the last 14 months of the pandemic in incredibly stressful conditions in direct provision.
We cannot ask people to wait until October 2022 for a review of the backlog – urgent measures are required now.”
Nasc is deeply concerned that the failure to adequately process the backlog of cases also jeopardises plans to close all the emergency centres by the end of 2021 and end direct provision by 2024.
Fiona Finn continues:
“Both the White Paper and the Day Report designed alternative reception systems based on the backlog of cases being cleared and an annual throughput of about 3,500 cases per year with processing times at the International Protection Office reduced to 6 months. At our current figures, it is extremely difficult to see how any of this will be achieved.”
(1) Figures on the backlog of cases provided to Thomas Gould TD in a Parliamentary Question (Written Response) on the 13/07/2021: Question Reference(s): 37801/21, 37800/21