Congratulations to the Irish Refugee Council (IRC) on the official opening of their new independent Law Centre!
The President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, last Friday formally launched the IRC Law Centre together with the European Database on Asylum Law at a very well-attended event at the Distillery Building. The Law Centre currently employs two solicitors and two legal officers. It aims to provide early legal advice to asylum seekers in the initial stages of the asylum process. The service can be reached through an outreach clinic, contacting the centre directly, or referrals from other organisations.
In his address, President Michael D referred to the protection gap and unmet need for legal advice for asylum seekers that the Law Centre seeks to fill. The President referred to his own previous and extensive experience as a TD dealing with numerous constituents who were facing difficulties with the immigration process.
Our own experience is that asylum claims are often poorly investigated and presented at the early stages, which leads to the need for further legal challenges later. This impacts negatively both on the applicants, who often wait a very many years for a final outcome, and on the courts system, which has become overburdened with unresolved asylum claims.
We anticipate that the Law Centre will provide valuable advice and support to applicants at the earliest stages of the process and help ensure that such claims are properly presented and future delays kept to a minimum.
We wish the Centre every success!