Drug treatment for asylum seekers or failed asylum seekers is, in our view, an interesting area for lawyers to explore. We are currently involved in a case where a failed asylum seeker, who seeks to re-enter the asylum system, is in rehabilitative care in an Irish drug treatment centre. We are hoping to provide him with suitable after care, but apparently, this cannot be provided to him without a PPS Number.
As such, our client would be in danger of relapsing into destructive substance abuse whilst his application for re-entry into the asylum is pending. Given that this can take many months, the current situation is clearly unsatisfactory for our client, as he is making good progress in the drug rehabilitation centre. We are liaising with the Department of Social Protection to seek the legislative basis on which they provide financial support only for those persons with PPS Numbers.
The purposes of the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme are, inter alia, to provide immediate and flexible assistance for those in need who do not qualify for payment under state schemes, as well as, to help those whose needs are inadequately met under the major schemes and those confronted with an emergency situation.
In our view, the situation of this applicant is an emergency situation as it appears that the aftercare, which he seeks, is essential for his long-term drug rehabilitation and, ultimately, his personal survival of substance misuse.
We are liaising with the Department of Social Protection on a pro bono basis at present and will keep you updated on our progress.