Commission Publishes Legal Arguments in High Court International Protection Cases

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (the ‘Commission’) appeared last week before the High Court as amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) in two important cases concerning the human rights of individuals who arrived in the State seeking International Protection.

The cases focus on two applicants, who separately sought International Protection (or asylum) from the State in February of this year. Neither applicant was provided with accommodation on arrival in the State, rather each was given a supermarket voucher to the value of €28 and €25 respectively. Both were subsequently advised that accommodation would be provided to them when space became available. As a result, both lived on the streets for a number of weeks without State support.

These cases raise important questions about the duty of the State to provide International Protection applicants with material reception conditions, including accommodation, under the European Community’s (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2018.

Both have pleaded numerous human rights breaches under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (the ‘Charter’); including a breach of Article 1 which states that

“Human dignity is inviolable. It must be respected and protected.”

The State has argued that, given the unprecedented strain on accommodation resources, it was not possible to provide the material reception conditions to these applicants. The Commission argued that resource implications, arising from exceptional circumstances, cannot excuse breaches of EU law and the right to dignity under Article 1 of the Charter is an obligation that cannot be derogated from.

Chief Commissioner Sinéad Gibney said:

“We were pleased to be in a position to assist the High Court with our submissions. The outcome of both these cases will have very real repercussions for people seeking International Protection in the State.
There are minimum standards that the State must provide by law to International Protection applicants. Those who do not have their basic needs met on arrival will be at risk of destitution and exploitation.”


For further information, please contact:
Sarah Clarkin, IHREC Communications Manager,
01 852 9641 / 087 468 7760

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Notes to Editor

Read full amicus curiae submission 1

Read full amicus curiae submission 2

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures