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The Disabled


Refugees and
Asylum Seekers

Minority Groups

Who is a Refugee?
The United Nations 1951 Convention definition is "a person who has left their own country owing to a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion."

Refugees fall into different categories, these are:
Programme Refugees
A person who has been invited to Ireland on foot of a government decision in response to humanitarian requests from bodies such as the Untied Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Asylum Seeker
An asylum seeker is someone who has submitted a claim for refugee status in a country outside of his or her nationality and awaits the outcome of their claim. The UNHCR has developed standardised procedures to be strictly observed in the asylum determination process.
Under the Geneva Convention a host country is fully responsible for an asylum seekers maintenance while his or her application is being dealt with.

Entitlements for Refugees
Any person or group who are granted refugee status in Ireland are accorded the same rights and entitlements as any Irish citizen.

Refugees can also avail of the services of the Refugee Language Support Unit in Dublin.

A person who fulfils the requirements of the definition of a refugee under the 1951Convention relating to the status of Refugees and is recognised as a refugee.

Leave to remain
Permission granted to a person to remain in the state.  This is granted at the discretion of the Minister of Justice and may be granted to a person who does not fully meet the requirements of the requirements of the definition of a refugee under the 1951 Convention relating to the status of Refugees, but who the minister decides should be allowed to remain in the state for humanitarian reasons.

Person who migrates to a country with the intention of settling there.

Entitlements for Asylum Seekers
The entitlements available to Asylum Seekers are much more limited compared to those who have been granted refugee status. In March 2000 the Irish government introduced a dual system of dispersal and direct provision. This means that Asylum Seekers are allocated hostel accommodation around the country where their board and food are provided for. Asylum Seekers receive a supplementary welfare payment of 15 per week and 7.50 for children.

  • Refugees are fully entitled to seek employment.
  • Asylum Seekers who arrived in Ireland previous to July 1999 are entitled to seek work on certain conditions. Asylum Seekers arriving after this date are not entitled to seek work.
School attendance is compulsory for all children between the ages of 6 and 16, including the children of asylum seekers.  Although access to primary and secondary education is free, difficulties can occur in the integration of children of asylum seekers and refugees in the area of language and communication.
The Department of Education and Science can provide language support to schools with non-English speaking children.
Third level education is not open to asylum seekers.

List of Support Groups
National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism (NCCRI)
26 Harcourt Street
Dublin 2
Phone: (01) 4785777^racism

Association of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Ireland (ARASI)
213 North Circular Rd,
Dublin 7.
Tel: (01) 8381142
Fax: 8381143

Comhlamh - Dublin
10 Upper Camden St,
Dublin 2
Tel: (01) 4783490
Fax: 4783738

Comhlamh - Cork
55 Grand Parade,
Tel: (021) 275881
Fax: 275241

Refugee Agency
9 Marlborough Court,
Marlborough St,
Dublin 1.
Tel: (01) 8787200
Fax: 8787232

Refugee Council Dublin
40 Lower Dominick St,
Dublin 1.
Tel: (01) 8730042
Fax: 8730088

Refugee Council Clare
1 Bank Place,
Co. Clare.
Tel / Fax: (065) 6822026

Westport Refugee Support Group
Geraldine Mitchell (098) 68724
Anne Crowley (098) 29382

Castlebar Refugee Support Group
Nollaig Mc Guinness (098) 41950 / (094) 24270

Refugee Information Service
Richmond Business Campus,
Morning Star Avenue,
Dublin 7
Tel: (01) 8786442

Refugee Language Support Unit
83 Waterloo Lane,
Dublin 4
Tel: (01) 6672479 / 2112