The principal purpose of the International Protection Bill 2015 is to reform the system for determining applications for international protection (also known as asylum) in Ireland through the introduction of a single application procedure.

On the 19th of November 2015 The Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD published the text of the International Protection Bill 2015 which was approved by Government and which has been presented to the Houses of the Oireachtas to begin the legislative process leading to the enactment of the Bill.

One of the main purposes of this bill is to reduce the length of time asylum applicants spend in the protection process, including the direct provision system (which Sinnott Solicitors have previously challenged on behalf of one of our clients) through establishing a single applications procedure for international protection.

Under the proposed single procedure, an applicant will make one application, and will have all grounds for seeking international protection and to be permitted to remain in the State examined and determined in one process.

International protection can be granted either;

  • as a person who is eligible for refugee protection on the basis of a well-founded fear of persecution in the country of origin, or
  • as a person who is eligible for subsidiary protection on the basis of a real risk of suffering serious harm if returned to the country of origin.

Under the Bill’s new legislative framework, a dedicated unit of the Department of Justice and Equality, to be known as The Protection Office will be the determining authority at first instance for applications for international protection, replacing the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC).

In the case of an applicant who is being refused international protection a decision will be made as to whether the applicant should be given a permission to remain in the State having regard to the applicant’s family and personal circumstances and his or her right to respect for his or her family life.

The existing Refugee Appeals Tribunal will be replaced by a newly constituted and independent appeals body (The International Protection Appeals Tribunal) to provide an effective remedy against a decision on an application for international protection including a refusal of refugee status or subsidiary protection at first instance.