Policy Engagement & Media

As well as engaging with academic publishing, I have inputted into political/policy debates, through providing bespoke presentations to national and international political bodies, including the Oireachtas and the United Nations. I have advised members of the Constitutional Convention on issues pertaining to social, economic and cultural rights. I have also drafted Heads of Bills on immigration reform. I have contributed to legal debates on range of issues through newspapers, TV, Radio and through blogging.


I was a runner up in UCD’s Research Impact Case Study competition 2022 for Ending Direct Provision. I was one of the eleven featured researchers for the UCD College of Social Science and Law publication Towards the Good Society. You can access my reflections on my research on issues of direct provision and asylum seekers in Ireland here.

Policy Contributions

Liam Thornton (2020) Comments on first draft of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), 4th Periodic Report for Ireland 2020. Submitted to Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, May 2020.

Liam Thornton (2019) Submission to the Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality on Direct Provision & Human Rights, Houses of the Oireachtas, Leinster House, Dublin 2. You can read/view my opening statement and evidence to the Oireachtas Committee here and here, June 2019.

Liam Thornton (2018) Human Rights Law in Ireland, Training Session with Irish Council for Civil Liberties for Office of the Parliamentary Legal Adviser,  Houses of the Oireachtas, Leinster House, Dublin 2.

Liam Thornton (2018) Ireland to opt-in to EU Reception Conditions Directive – what will this mean for asylum seekers?, PILA Bulletin, 31 January 2018.

Liam Thornton, (2018) The Rights of Asylum Seekers and Ireland’s Draft UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination Report (January 2018).

Liam Thornton (2015) Address to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: The Socio-Economic and Cultural Rights of Asylum Seekers, Travellers and Roma in Ireland, Examination of Ireland’s Third Periodic Report before the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Palais Wilson, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva, , June 2015.

Liam Thornton (2014) Human Rights Implications of Direct Provision, IHREC Designate Roundtable on the Direct Provision System, 1 April 2014.

Caroline Reid and Liam Thornton  (eds.) (2014) Direct Provision at 14: No Place To Call Home. Dublin: Policy Contribution

Liam Thornton, Author of Heads of Bill for Senator David Norris (2014) Immigration (Reform) (Regularisation of Residency Status) Bill 2014 (November 2014).

Liam Thornton, The System of Direct Provision and Ireland’s Obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Presentation to Seanad Eireann Public Consultation Committee (May 2014)

Liam Thornton (2014) “What are Economic, Social and Cultural Rights?” in Constitutional Convention (eds.) The Constitutional Convention, Economic Social and Cultural Rights, Malahide, Co. Dublin, February 2014.

Siobhan Mullally, Claire Cumiskey, Deirdre Morgan & Liam Thornton (2007), Submission to on the Scheme of the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2006, Migration Law Clinic, Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights,  Faculty of Law, University College Cork.

Media Contributions

TV, Radio & Podcasts

Liam Thornton (2020) Contribution to Policed Podcast: Estefany Alquinta Gonzalez, Policed Podcast with Dr Vicky Conway, 15 October 2020.

Liam Thornton (2020) Social Justice Ireland Podcast on Direct Provision, SJI, 01 October 2020.

Liam Thornton (2020) Discussion on proposals to abolish direct provision, Irish Times: Inside Politics Podcast, 10 June 2020.

Liam Thornton (2019) Discussion on Direct Provision System, Newstalk: Between the Lines, 29 November 2019.

Liam Thornton (2019) Direct Provision, Newstalk, Pat Kenny Show, 27 November 2019.

Liam Thornton (2019) Discussion on seeking asylum in Ireland, DriveTime, RTÉ Radio 1, 22 November 2019.

Liam Thornton (2018) Comments on the Right to work for asylum seekers, RTÉ News, 09 February 2018.

Liam Thornton (2018) Discussion of #mypathtolaw, Today with Sean O’Rourke, RTÉ Radio 1, 06 February 2018.

Liam Thornton (2017) Contribution to legal analysis for the documentary Life of Asylum Seekers in Ireland, Directed by David McSavage and Lucy Miller.

Liam Thornton (2017) Comments on Rights to Work for Asylum Seekers, RTE Drivetime, Dublin, Thursday, 21 September 2017. RTE Drivetime, Dublin, Thursday, 21 September 2017.

Liam Thornton (2017) Contribution to Newstalk Drive on the Supreme Court finding the absolute ban on asylum seekers working to be unconstitutional. Newstalk Drive, 30 May 2017.

Liam Thornton (2017) Contribution on President Donald Trump’s Migration Ban (January 2017). BBC Radio 5 Live, The Phil Williams Show, 30 January 2017.

Liam Thornton (2017) Reflections on the Supreme Court’s decision relating to the right to work for asylum seekers on Prime Time (RTÉ). Prime Time, RTÉ, 30 May 2017.

Liam Thornton (2015) Perpetrating Direct Provision, Talking About Perpetrators seminar, Dublin Castle, 29 October 2015.

Liam Thornton (2015) Direct Provision and the Limits of Rights, 15th Countess Markievicz School, Liberty Hall, 23 May 2015.

Liam Thornton (2014) The Irish Asylum Seeker Scandal. TV3, Dublin, 03 November 2015.


Liam Thornton (2021) Poland’s handling of migrants on border in gross violation of EU law, Irish Examiner, 23 November 2021.

Liam Thornton (2020) Day Report leaves no room for excuses on direct provision, Irish Examiner, 22 October 2020.

Liam Thornton (2020), The abolition of direct provision cannot come quickly enough, Irish Times, 09 June 2020.

Liam Thornton (2020), Direct provision Just like in the past, the Irish solution is to hide away the problem, Sunday Independent, 01 December 2019.

Liam Thornton (2018), It’s time to move away from direct provision, Irish Independent, 01 July 2018.

Liam Thornton (2018), We’re only paying lip service to the rights of asylum seekers‘Irish Times, 25 January 2018.

Liam Thornton (2017) A Stain on Us All, Cork Independent, 27 July 2017.

Liam Thornton (2017) Q & A: What legal obligation does the US have to accept refugees, The Conversation, 27 January 2017.

Liam Thornton (2015) Welcome to Ireland: Migrants who crossed Med face flawed direct provision system, Irish Times, Dublin, 21 July 2015.

Liam Thornton (2015) Holding Ireland to account for violations of basic human rights, Irish Times, Dublin, 08 June 2015.

Liam Thornton (2014) Britain must live up to obligations on rights in North, Irish Times, Dublin, 27 October 2014.

Liam Thornton (2014) Asylum system principles need to be addressed, Irish Times, Dublin, 12 August 2014.

Liam Thornton (2014) More Asylum Seekers in ‘Direct Provision’ than Prisoners in Jail, Irish Times, Dublin, 03 April 2014.

Liam Thornton (2013) Direct Provision Shames Ireland as a Society, Irish Times, Dublin, 08 November 2013.

Liam Thornton (2013) Time to Legislate for Direct Provision, Irish Times, 05 August 2013.

Liam Thornton (2012) Children’s amendment a modest but good proposal, Irish Times, 25 October 2012.