Lunchtime Seminar: 'A Pipe Dream? Ending Direct Provision'

Feb 15 2023 Posted: 10:22 GMT

The Irish Centre for Human Rights continues its lunchtime seminar series with 'A Pipe Dream? Ending Direct Provision' by Dr Liam Thornton. The seminar takes place at 1pm, Tuesday, 28th February 2023, in the Seminar Room, Irish Centre for Human Rights. All are welcome to attend. 

The system of direct provision for persons seeking protection in Ireland has been in existence for almost twenty three years. In February 2021, the White Paper on Ending Direct Provision was published, acknowledging direct provision as a rights violating system and providing a road map to its end. Fast-forward two years, with such a changed socio-political landscape due to Russia’s war on Ukraine, has the White Paper become nothing more than a pipe-dream? 

In this presentation, Dr Liam Thornton will consider some key issues relating to the implementation, or lack thereof, of the White Paper to date in the areas of right to shelter and right to social assistance. Adopting a lens which argues for the centrality of socio-economic rights protection for asylum seekers in Ireland, Dr Thornton argues - based on extensive freedom of information requests - that the potentials for White Paper implementation have diminished significantly. This is due to the arrival of significant numbers of persons entitled to Temporary Protection from the Ukraine, as well as an increase in numbers seeking international protection. However, these are not the only reasons, further contextualization, in particular highlighting continued civil servant/bureaucratic resistance to implementation of affirmed government policy, as well as public resistance to rights protection for asylum seekers, may result in the continued existence of the system of direct provision.


Dr Liam Thornton is an associate professor in the School of Law, University College Dublin. His research interests encompass aspects of asylum and refugee law, human rights law, legal systems and socio-economic rights. His recent report on the implementation of the White Paper, with Dr Abayomi Ogunsanya, conducted for Nasc  was published in February 2023. This report was funded by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) under the IHREC Grant Scheme.