Earlier today.

In an unanimous decision.

The seven-judge Supreme Court ruled that the ban prohibiting asylum seekers from work is unconstitutional.

The challenge to the ban was taken by a man from Burma, who spent eight years in direct provision, after he was offered a job in 2013 but couldn’t accept it.

Last September, he was granted refugee status and, following that, the State had argued that his challenge be dismissed – given his new status allowed him to work – but the man, and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission urged the court to address the issue.

Mary Carolan, in The Irish Times, reports:

“The point has been reached when it cannot be said the legitimate differences between an asylum seeker and a citizen can continue to justify the exclusion of an asylum seeker from the possibility of employment,” [Mr Justice Donal O’Donnell] said.

This damage to the individual’s’ self worth and sense of themselves, is exactly the damage which the constitutional right [to seek employment] seeks to guard against.”

The evidence from the man of the depression, frustration and lack of self-belief at being unable to work “bears this out”, he added.

He said, in principle, he would be prepared to find, in circumstances where there is no temporal limit on the asylum process, the “absolute prohibiton” on seeking of employment in Section 9.4, and re-enacted in Section 16.3.b of the International Protection Act 2015, “is contrary to the constitutional right to seek employment”.

Because this situation arises because of the intersection of a number of statutory provisions, and could arguably be met by alteration of one or other of those, and since that was “first and foremost a matter for executive and legislative judgment” , the court would adjourn consideration of what form of order to make for six months, he said.

After that period elapsed, the court would hear submissions from the sides as to what form of order should be made “in the light of the circumstances then obtaining”.

Ban on asylum seekers working unconstitutional, says Supreme Court (The Irish Times)

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27 thoughts on “‘Unconstitutional’

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      I am seldom proud of them – but looking at those familiar faces, who have taken decisions which transcend their individual religious and political affiliations – I think we can all justly applaud this wise and just decision. The artificial division between ‘Asylum seeker’ and ‘economic migrant’ should have run it’s course by now. In the end everybody, and the Irish in particular, are economic migrants, and all of the host countries depend on this cheap labour. Why persist in this cruel and dishonest system?

      1. Cian

        Do you think that Ireland should have completely open borders? and allow as many people in who wish to live here?

        1. Janet, I ate my avatar

          Cian, what are you so afraid of ?
          Immigrants improve an economy.
          Ireland is under populated.

  1. DavidL

    This is great news. Finally asylum seekers will start to be treated like human beings, and not warehoused like prisoners.

  2. Barry the Hatchet

    This is really excellent news. I await seeing how the Government will attempt to wriggle out of implementing the decision.

    1. realPolithicks

      “I await seeing how the Government will attempt to wriggle out of implementing the decision.”
      They’ll do what they always do….appoint a commission and the issue will disappear into the ether.

    1. scottser

      actually, if someone is working then they’ll be eligible for HAP. Claiming social welfare and other state protections may still be a problem though.

  3. Diddy

    Fair enough but there will be consequences to this. As it stands the hungry masses know about fortress Ireland and claim asylum elsewhere. Once this changes many more will come

    1. ahjayzis

      There’s actually really good arguments out there that Ireland should seek to increase it’s population quite dramatically.

        1. ahjayzis

          The idea is that a planned population increase would both necessitate and then pay for those good things, infrastructure and the kind of economies of scale we can get from from multiple cities developed to a more European density and level of service provision.

          1. Cian

            Ah, yes, that would be great (however the payment comes after the infrastructure).

            We should take Horseleap on the M6 (as the centre of Ireland) and plan a 500,000 city there. Also upgrade Cork, Galway and Dublin. Or perhaps move the new city nearer the border – near Cavan perhaps?

    2. Nigel

      The idea that to discourage other migrants and refugees we need to treat the people who do get here inhumanely is monstrous.

  4. Tomboktu

    That is a distinctly old photograph of the Supreme Court judges. One of them in the photo has since died, and at least one other has retired.

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