THE MAYOR of Limerick has launched a legal service for the hundreds of migrants living in the city to help them find their voice in the legal system and “protect their human rights”.
Mayor Cllr Gerry McLoughlin and county council Cathoirleach Cllr Jerome Scanlan have welcomed the establishment of this service for migrants living in the mid-west region.
Karen McHugh, chief executive of Doras Luimní, said the new service will complement the existing work of their 10 year-old charitable organisation, which strives to improve the lives of all migrants.
Speaking at the launch in Limerick yesterday, Sue Conlon, chief executive of the Irish Refugee Council, said there is a real need for migrants and refugees to get specialist legal support.
“This helps them to find their way through a complicated system that lacks the clarity that might enable people to help themselves. The legal service at Doras Luimni is a timely addition to the high quality service that the organisation has been providing for years,” said Ms Conlon.
Their legal team comprises two personnel, who have been assisting clients since June on a range of issues relating to protection applications, residency applications, visa applications, voluntary return and deportation orders.
Ms McHugh said their staff have already “put a huge emphasis on making contact with the migrant community in Limerick” by holding a legal service open day and visiting the direct provision accommodation centres in the region to inform people about the service, and increase their own understanding of the experiences and issues faced by migrants living locally.
Legal officer Okeremute Okeregha said they have already had a high demand for this service, which reflects the shortfall in this area to date. “Non-governmental organisations like Doras are having to step in to provide a professional service that is accessible to those who need it when they need it, in order to ensure the protection of migrants’ human rights. The development of this service is a timely and very necessary intervention.”