Right to work: Dáil narratives on asylum

  • Agnès Maillot


In May 2017, the Supreme Court ruling that the ban preventing asylum seekers from working was unconstitutional triggered a number of debates in the Dáil, and the government was forced to introduce new legislation. The 'right to work' came into effect one year later, and in the meantime, TDs from all sides of the Chamber discussed the pros and cons of allowing those whose applications for refugee status is still pending to seek employment and to leave the Direct Provision centres where they have been housed since the system was introduced almost twenty years previously, in 1999. This paper seeks to analyse the political discourse on the right to work for asylum seekers, since the debate extends from the late 1990s right up to the current situation. After having contextualised the issue, both internationally and in Ireland, it will explore the manner in which this debate has been framed in Dáil Éireann, analysing the arguments put forward, either in favour or against, access to the labour market for asylum seekers.

Keywords: Asylum seekers, Right to work, Labour market, Political discourse, Dáil Éireann, EU Reception Conditions Directive

How to Cite:

Maillot, A., (2019) “Right to work: Dáil narratives on asylum”, Studies in Arts and Humanities 4(2), 19-32. doi:

Download PDF
View PDF

Published on
30 Jan 2019
Peer Reviewed