Dr Ciara Smyth, Director of the Doctoral Programme in the School of Law, NUI Galway
Oct 15 2014 Posted: 10:51 IST

Dr Ciara Smyth, Director of the Doctoral Programme in the School of Law, NUI Galway, has been appointed to the government’s Working Group on Asylum.  The Working Group, which is convened by the Minister for Justice and Equality and the Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality, and chaired by retired High Court judge, Mr Justice Bryan McMahon, is to recommend to Government what improvements should be made to the State’s existing direct provision and protection processes for asylum seekers in the short and longer term. 

The establishment of the Working Group comes in response to mounting criticism of delays in the Irish asylum procedure and the conditions in which asylum seekers are required to live while they await the outcome of their asylum applications.  Other members of the Working Group include: Sue Conlan, Chief Executive of the Irish Refugee Council and Sophie Magennis, Head of UNHCR in Ireland. 

Dr Ciara Smyth has been working in the asylum field for over fifteen years, both as a practitioner and as an academic.  She teaches Immigration Law, International Human Rights and International Law in the School of Law, NUI Galway, and Refugee Law in the Irish Centre for Human Rights.  She has been involved in training of staff in the asylum institutions, has conducted master-classes for barristers, solicitors and asylum decision-makers on various aspects of refugee law, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Irish Refugee Council.  She has just published a monograph with Routledge on  European Asylum Law and the Rights of the Child. Last year Ciara was presented with a prestigious Max van der Stoel Human Rights Award in Tilburg for her PhD thesis on ‘The Common European Asylum System and the Rights of the Child: An Exploration of Meaning and Compliance’, which she completed at Leiden University.

Welcoming the announcement of Dr Smyth’s appointment to the new Working Group, the Head of the School of Law at NUI Galway, Professor Donncha O’Connell, said: “This is a well-deserved recognition of Ciara Smyth’s standing as a leading Irish and European scholar on asylum and related matters. I have no doubt that she will make an invaluable contribution to the Working Group which will be chaired by Judge McMahon who was, previously, a part-time Professor in the School of Law at NUI Galway.”

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