Ireland: President Michael D. Higgins Signs Asylum Bill into Law

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    • President decides not to refer Bill to Supreme Court after convening the Council of State

    President Michael D Higgins has signed a Bill on the Irish asylum process into law, after he decided against referring it to the Supreme Court.

    A statement from Áras an Uachtaráin on Wednesday evening confirmed the signing of the International Protection Bill 2015 into law.

    The President had convened a meeting of the Council of State on Tuesday to discuss whether to refer the Bill to the Supreme Court.

    However, a majority of those present at the meeting advised against such a move.

    The International Protection Bill 2015 aims to streamline the application process for asylum seekers.

    The President was said to be concerned about the guillotine imposed on the legislation, which meant that there was limited debate on its provisions in the Dáil and Seanad.

    The provisions of the Bill that were examined by the Council of State concerned the definition of the family under sections 56 and 57; the rights of children to have refugee status; and whether section 78 prevents people from seeking asylum in the State.

    It is understood that the President’s biggest concern was an apparent redefinition of the family in the Bill.

    President’s Statement

    The statement from Áras an Uachtaráin said: “In accordance with the terms of the Constitution, President Michael D Higgins has today, December 30th, signed the International Protection Bill 2015 into law.”

    The President also signed another two pieces of legislation into law on Wednesday – the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013 and the Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011.

    Credit: Irish Times