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Community Groups : Mayo Intercultural Action Last Updated: 2, Apr 2018 - 10:02

Clearing the Asylum Backlog
By Natalya Pestova
8, May 2015 - 09:27

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Mayo County Council is first in Ireland to pass a motion in support of the ‘Clear the Asylum Backlog' Campaign

Mayo Intercultural Action welcomes Mayo County Council passing a motion in support of the Clear Asylum Backlog campaign last week:

"Mayo County Council supports the Campaign ‘Clear the Asylum Backlog'. Asylum seekers in Mayo and Ireland have waited an average of four years (many up to 10 years) and are forced to live indefinitely in abject poverty in unsuitable, cramped living condition, with no right to work or education. This has taken its toll on men, women and children and many are at breaking point. Mayo County Council supports the campaign, led by the Irish Refugee Council and supported by Mayo Intercultural Action, which calls for the introduction of a one-off scheme to clear the backlog of people in the Protection process before the Introduction of a single protection procedure".

The motion was passed unanimously, with Cllr. Therese Ruane bringing the motion to the Council. Mayo is the first county to pass one regarding the scheme calling for the clearance of the backlog of protection claims. While the asylum protection is a national policy issue within the remit of the Minister for Justice, it is important for local polititions to show their support and lobby for change on this appalling social issue.

The ‘Clear the Asylum Backlog' campaign is started by Irish Refugee Council and Doras Lumni to put pressure on the Irish government to finalise the cases of about 4,460 people in the system. Caroline Reid of Irish Refugee Council welcomed the council motion, saying ‘We would all hope that Mayo is the first [county] of many to come' and is looking into ways to see how other counties can replicate successes such as Mayo.

In January 2015 there were 216 asylum seekers awaiting for their decision in the Accommodation Centre in Ballyhaunis, with over a third of them is children. The only income of an asylum seeker is a weekly allowance of 19.10 euro per adult and 8.60 euro per child, the rates that have not changed since 2000. Prohibited to work and study the asylum seekers become deskilled and de-motivated, while the consequences of prolonged institutionalised living affect people for many years after their status is eventually decided.

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