Ex-justice minister John O’Donoghue cashes in on asylum application fees

John O’Donoghue, a former justice minister, is among the top 20 highest-paid lawyers retained by his former department to help process asylum applications.
Figures released by the Department of Justice show that O’Donoghue, who qualified as a barrister in 2014, has been since 2015 as a member of the case processing panel of the International Protection Office (IPO).


Applications should be decided within 6 months. It may take longer in some circumstances. If the application is successful, the Minister for Justice and Equality will make a declaration that you are entitled to protection. If the application is refused, they may appeal the decision. Some applicants have been held in Direct Provision for several years waiting on the outcome of appeals


Panellists are paid €615 for interviewing an applicant and then compiling a report. An extra €350 is paid for carrying out an interview and doing a report on the applicant’s spouse, and a further €95 for each dependent child.


The decision on whether applications for asylum or subsidiary protection are accepted is made by civil servants.

A ‘refused’ or ‘failed’ asylum seeker is someone whose claim for asylum, or claim under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, has been refused and any subsequent appeals have been unsuccessful. Unsuccessful asylum seekers are often referred to as ‘appeals rights exhausted (ARE)’.


As a refugee, you will have the same rights in Ireland as an Irish citizen to look for work, get a job, and access education, training, medical care, social protections and services. As a refugee you are entitled to be issued with an Irish travel document, to leave Ireland and to re-enter the country of origin (which is the supposed country a refugee has fled)


An asylum seeker is someone who is seeking international protection but whose claim for refugee status has not yet been determined. In contrast, a refugee is someone who has been recognised under the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees to be a refugee.


Simply speaking, a economic migrant is someone who chooses to move, and a refugee is someone who has been forced from their home. A refugee, generally speaking, is a displaced person who has been forced to cross national boundaries and who cannot return home safely.


Illegal immigration refers to the migration of people into a country in violation of the immigration laws of that country, or the continued residence of people without the legal right to live in that country.

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