Mother in direct provision awarded €1,680 over case delay

Opposing the appeal, Nuala Butler SC, for the Minister for Justice, argued a foreign national present in the State on a conditional basis had no constitutional right to work.

A High Court judge has ruled a mother who spent several years in direct provision with her husband and son is entitled to €1,680 compensation from the State over “culpable” delay of a year in determining her application for international protection.

The compensation is based on having been deprived of child benefit over a year-long period.

The immigration service delay between May 2011 and May 2012 in deciding the application was inordinate, breached the rights of the woman and child and also breached the duties of the State under the Constitution and EU law, Mr Justice Michael White had held in a significant recent judgment.

When the case returned before him today, he assessed compensation, based on loss of child benefit of €140 monthly over a year, at €1,680.

While noting he had refused several other declarations and orders sought by the woman, the judge said he would award her all preliminary costs of the case, plus costs of one day of the five day hearing.

He put a stay on his orders, including the compensation order, in the event of an appeal.

In his judgment last week, the judge said the protection application made in May 2007 by the woman, after being refused refugee status, should have been finalised by May 2011.

Protection was granted in May 2012. The couple’s son was born in direct provision in 2007.

Administrative authorities should be conscious of the length of time asylum and protection applicants spend in direct provision, he said. “The direct provision system meets the basis needs of the applicants but is far from ideal.”

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