‘A Gesture To 1916’

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Retired judge Bryan McMahon

Former chairperson of the Working Group on the Protection Process, retired Judge Bryan McMahon spoke at an event in the Jesuit Refugee Service this morning.

It came after a review of the working group’s report – delivered last June – showed little progress in relation to the group’s recommendations.

Criticising the length of time asylum seekers have to live in direct provision, Mr McMahon called for a blanket, one-off amnesty for the 3,500 people who’ve been in direct provision for more than five years – in the spirit of 1916.

He said:

“That would be a great start, in my view, just to take the 3,500 people and say, ‘it’s not going to happen again, it’s a one-off and it’s a gesture to 1916 and the men in the GPO’.”

“No one, in my view, would object, that’s my instinct on it and, in fact, au contraire, most people would applaud us for doing something like that.”

Time to process refugee applications doubled from 15 to 30 weeks last year (Newstalk)

Direct Provision recommendations not implemented, analysis finds (RTE)

Mark Stedman/Rollingnews

14 thoughts on “‘A Gesture To 1916’

  1. The Real Jane

    Yeah, it’s definitely about time. Those appalling centres need to be cleared out, they’re not fit for humans to live in them. And the delays in processing applications have been entirely unreasonable and that’s the fault of the Irish state. The people who’ve lived in these prisons should be set free to start a new life here, it’s unquestionably the decent, moral and rational thing to do.

  2. mico@micosoft.com

    M’Kay. Why would it be one time? What has changed in our system to suggest it would not be one time and we will build up a backlog again? Not necessarily suggesting we don’t do it – just that as ex member of a legal service that seems to take more time with interminable appeals and award more money (whiplash) than any other legal system he might just explain how he proposes streamlining the service in future….

  3. The Real Jane

    I don’t think the system has changed at all, but it’s inhumane to keep people who are not even accused of any crime imprisioned indefinitely in these conditions. There are children in schools who’ve never known any existence other than in a direct provision centre. The argument that it sets a precedent so we must not do it is a pretty grim one. Are these people expected to endure those awful places for possibly the rest of their lives because we didn’t get a proper system together in the past and probably aren’t bothered in the future? They aren’t forcing us to be so inhumane and negligent – although they’re suffering badly for it.

  4. Owen C

    “That would be a great start, in my view, just to take the 3,500 people and say, ‘it’s not going to happen again, it’s a one-off and it’s a gesture to 1916 and the men in the GPO’.”

    “No one, in my view, would object, that’s my instinct on it and, in fact, au contraire, most people would applaud us for doing something like that.”

    1. How about we actually just create a functioning system which processes these people in an efficient and fair manner?
    2. Of course people would object to it. There’s probably 10-20% of the population (if not more) that are, for their own reasons, some fair and some not, quite firmly against allowing asylum seekers/refugees into the country on any type of material basis. To deny that a sizeable portion of the population is against the thing you are arguing for is to completely miss the point of your own argument.

  5. Clampers Outside!

    I’ve been saying this for ages, delighted to hear someone in the “circle” start at it too. But if it is done and nothing is done to change and improve the refugee approval process then no, it’s an empty gesture… but one that should still be done, for humanity like, and not for the ‘kudos’.

  6. Truth in the News

    The reality is that the level of non Irish is nearing 16% of the population and may be higher, there is a level at which it can not be allowed to go any further, all countries set controls even the United States, its simplistic for a retired Judge to advocate such a silly proposal in above all venues, one run by the Jesuits
    Have try at putting the proposal to a referendum, we’d soon find out, its ironic to
    mention a gesture for 1916, well we’d need to start to mark the last resting places
    for hero’s of 1916, as quite a few lie in graves unmarked and un-commemorated

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        Let this be a lesson; always be suspicious of people who make the word ‘truth’ central to their message. It’s nearly always some lunatic.

    1. The Real Jane

      So many questions.

      How do you define non-Irish?
      What is the level beyond which non-Irish cannot go (bear in mind your definition from 1)?
      What has this to do with controls?
      Do you think these people don’t already live in Ireland in some way and therefore may be already counted in your current 16%?
      Why is it particularly silly to mention this proposal to Jesuits?
      Why does “heros” get an apostrophe?

      That’s just for starters…

      What would happen if it did?

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