Laws to be introduced "as quickly as possible" to deal with ruling on asylum seekers

The Supreme Court found the ban on asylum seekers looking for work is “in principle” unconstitutional

Laws to be introduced "as quickly as possible" to deal with ruling on asylum seekers

David Stanton. Photo:Leah Farrell/

The Government is to introduce new laws as soon as possible to deal with yesterday's Supreme Court ruling on direct provision.

Junior Justice Minister David Stanton today said the Government "welcomes" the decision, as it gives legal certainty in an otherwise grey area.

Yesterday the court said the ban on asylum seekers looking for work could be seen as unconstitutional. People seeking asylum here are currently banned from working until their application is approved.

In a potentially landmark ruling, the court found that the outright ban on working is “in principle” contrary to the constitutional right to seek employment, as there is no time limit for the asylum application process.

The court has withheld its official order for a six-month period to allow time for the Government to consider how to legislate for the ruling.

Minister Stanton says the Government may now look at introducing a new law that grants the right to work after a specific time.

He said: "We will take time to examine it carefully. We will move as quickly as possible to bring forward legislation in this area.

"It's an important matter, it's a serious matter. We welcome the judgement [...] But there are other implications we've got to consider, and that will be done at the earliest possible opportunity."

Earlier, Enda Kenny said the Supreme Court ruling was 'important'.

Speaking during what is expected to be his final round of leader's questions as Taoiseach, he told deputies: "I expect that once officials from the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice and Equality have gone through the judgment in detail, the Minister of State will be very happy to have a discussion with Opposition Members and move on in the context of the findings of the Supreme Court."

He noted that Frances Fitzgerald and David Stanton had already done 'a lot of work' in the area.

"Within the past month, before this judgment, they asked their officials to begin work to identify the options for and the barriers to asylum seekers gaining access to the labour market in particular circumstances," the Taoiseach said.