World Refugee Day – 20 June 2017


Two important events occurred in UCD on 20 June to mark World Refugee Day:  

  • The University Management Team approved a document on “Access to the UCD Community for Refugees, Asylum Seekers, those with Leave to Remain and those with Subsidiary Protection”. This document will:
    • Support and compliment UCD's vision of a global university
    • Outline supports available to Refugees, Asylum Seekers, those with Leave to Remain and those with Subsidiary Protection
    • Clarify procedures in respect of study and employment, hosting and visits.
  • A very successful conference, brought to you by UCD School of Social Policy & Social Work and Irish Refugee Council, took place in Belfield.

Further information on both of these events is outlined below.

“Access to the UCD Community for Refugees, Asylum Seekers, those with Leave to Remain and those with Subsidiary Protection”

Refugees and asylum seekers can face many barriers to accessing study and work in higher education.  These include a lack of information, advice and individual guidance sensitive to their specific needs, as well as financial and other practical barriers.   This document aims to break down those barriers by providing support and opportunities to widen the participation of displaced persons seeking sanctuary in Ireland and providing access to University College Dublin as students, for work experience, or as employees, as appropriate. 

An Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Working Group was therefore established to review current processes towards refugees and asylum applicants in UCD in respect of study and employment, and hosting/visits; to look at specific initiatives currently in place; and to develop guidelines for Academic and Support Units to support Refugees, Asylum Seekers, those with Subsidiary Protection and those with Leave to Remain.

Having reviewed current processes and initiatives and best international practice, a Guidelines document was developed for Academic and Support Units on  Access to the UCD community for Refugees, Asylum Seekers, those with Leave to Remain and those with Subsidiary Protection” and approved by the University Management Team on 20 June 2017.


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  • Professor Colin Scott (Co-Chair)
  • Professor Grace Mulcahy (Co-Chair)
  • Grainne de Bhulbh, UCD Registry
  • Professor Gabriel Cooney, School of Archaeology
  • Professor Bryan Fanning, School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice
  • Marcellina Fogarty, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Carl Lusby, Student Adviser (International)
  • Catherine Lynch, Gender Project Manager
  • Ian Millichip, UCD Registry
  • Róisín Ní Mhara, Student Union Welfare Officer
  • Dr Annetta Zintl, School of Veterinary Medicine
  • Dr Muireann Ní  Raghallaigh, School of Social Policy, Social work and Social Justice
  • David Kelly, Director of Financial Planning, O’Brien Science Centre
  • Professor Joe Carthy, College Principal, Science

"Responding to the Needs of Refugee Children and Young People"

Ireland has a long history of hosting refugee children, even if the numbers reaching Ireland have been small in comparison with other countries. In recent years, children and young people have been fleeing persecution and war in unprecedented numbers. Some of these children reach Ireland, either independently or through the relocation programmes from Calais and Greece. While refugee children, whether accompanied or unaccompanied, are often portrayed as vulnerable, their stories are also of fortitude, resilience and independence. This multi-disciplinary half day conference, held on World Refugee Day, explored approaches to meeting the needs of children, both unaccompanied and accompanied, who are in the protection process. Themes included how care is provided to children, their agency and potential, recent attempts to reform the Irish reception system and any impact these reforms have on young people and projects led by young people that aim to amplify their voice and experiences.

This conference, brought to you by UCD School of Social Policy & Social Work and Irish Refugee Council,  took place in Belfield on the 20th of June.

  • The opening address was given by Teresa Blake, Senior Counsel and member of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission who spoke about her recent experiences of working with refugee children on the island of Lesbos in Greece.
  • This was followed by Panel One which looked at unaccompanied refugee children and included presentations from Professor Ravi Kohli of the University of Befordshire and Dr Ala Sirriyeh of Keele University.
  • Panel Two, chaired by Tanya Ward of the Children’s Rights Alliance, focussd on accompanied children. It began with a presentation by young people from the European Youth in Migration Forum and their youth worker from the Irish Refugee Council, Aoife Dare. The young people spoke about their consultations with other young people living in the direct provision system and highlighted the many challenges faced by these young people and the importance of including their voices and opinions in discussions regarding issues that impact on them.
  • The panel were followed by presentations from Dr. Deirdre Horgan of University College Cork and Dr. Ciara Smyth of NUIG and by a closing address by Nick Henderson of the Irish Refugee Council.

The conference which was fully booked was attended by social workers, social care workers, legal practitioners, guardian ad litems, members of NGOs and advocacy groups, researchers and academics from all across the island of Ireland. The conference received media coverage from Radio na Gaeltachta, Today FM, Phoenix fm and the Irish Times.

Media release regarding the conference:

Presentations from the conference are available on the Irish Refugee Council’s website.