Tuesday, 23 January 2018
Reception Conditions Directive: Motion
I thank the Senators for their consideration. I want to point out that, as Senator Ruane has said, it is important that we have the opportunity of opting into the EU reception conditions directive, recast, because we need to bear in mind the key benefits it will bring to applicants and their families during their time in our protection process. Of course, we are using the opportunity afforded to us by the Supreme Court to continue the programme of reforms we have been undertaking since 2014. I thank Senators for their support. I am seeking the permission of the Seanad to proceed along the avenue of opting in. If I do not get that permission and it is not forthcoming, we will have a challenge and we will not be in a position to proceed along the lines that Seanadóirí have indicated they believe to be best. I very much agree with Senator Ruane's sentiment.
I understand that the issue of access to the labour market is a key consideration for everybody here, as it is for applicants themselves and for all stakeholders. I also appreciate the fact that some Senators have stated that they find the temporary access arrangements to be unduly restrictive. I have to say that these arrangements are temporary. They are short-term and will be in place until such a time as we opt in.