Claire Dorrity, “Questioning the Governance of Asylum Policy in Ireland: Human Security and the Role of Migrant NGOs” Panel 44

Drawing on a human security approach, this paper highlights the way the administration and governance of asylum policy in Ireland has failed to prioritise well-being through a dehumanising and oppressive approach, which neglects to emphasise the dignity, respect and inclusion of asylum seekers. It has done this through imposing state sanctioned policies of exclusion and a focus on punitive rather than protective measures in the accommodation and reception of those seeking refuge and safety in Ireland. This has presented a politically challenging environment for migrant non-governmental organisations (NGOs), who often find their organisations co-opted into state practices through systems of compliance and restrictive funding mechanisms, which compromises their scope for advocacy and political mobilisation. Using the Scottish and Portuguese models of integration as examples of good practice, this paper highlights how a more human-centred approach can act as a means to break down barriers to inclusion and integration and create alliances between state and non-state actors. In drawing attention to such models, the paper highlights some of the missed opportunities in the practices of Irish migrant NGOs, through an underlying premise of state political processes of control. While acknowledging significant factors relating to power differentials and the disconnect that can often exist between state institutions and migrant NGOs, the paper raises questions that elucidate the need to promote more participative and collective strategies of engagement, which, can in turn, enhance the capacity of migrant NGOs to act as drivers of change.

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Claire Dorrity is a lecturer in Social Policy in the School of Applied Social Studies and the Academic Director of the Diploma in Developmental and Global Human Rights Studies, University College Cork. She is a joint editor of Migration: Global Processes Caught in National Answers (Nova 2014) and co-editor of Social Professional Activity: The Search for a Minimum Common Denominator in Difference (Wiener Verlag 2009). Claire is a research associate with the Institute of Social Science in the 21st Century, UCC (ISS21) and is a committee member of the Migration and Integration Research Cluster, UCC. She is also a member of the Steering Committee on the University of Sanctuary Committee, UCC. Her research interests include asylum and migration policy, the Mediterranean migrant crisis and EU border secularization, the social and cultural exclusion of minorities, and the politics of multiculturalism. She is currently undertaking her PhD at University College Cork. Her PhD study examines the political representation of asylum seekers in Ireland, focusing specifically on the efficacy of processes of engagement in the policies and practices of migrant NGOs in Ireland.