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Refugee Documentation Centre FAQs

1. What is the Refugee Documentation Centre?

The Refugee Documentation Centre (RDC) was established in late 2000 as an independent unit providing COI (Country of Origin Information) research and library services to the agencies involved in the asylum process. The RDC is part of a larger unit within the Legal Aid Board known as the Research and Information Unit (RIU).

2. Is the RDC independent?

Yes, the RDC operates under the Legal Aid Board, but is independent of all asylum organisations that use its service. Information requests from all asylum organisations are dealt with equally and only public sources of information are used in carrying out research.

3. Is the RDC open to the public?

Yes. Members of the public are welcome to visit the RDC in order to undertake their own research by appointment only. Contact us on rdc@legalaidboard.ie to book an appointment. Internet access for relevant research is also available. Limited photocopying facilities are available, subject to copyright regulations. Members of the public are not permitted to borrow books. 

The opening hours of the RDC library are from 10.00am to 12.30pm and 14.00pm to 17.00pm. We are located at 7-11 Montague Street, Dublin 2, Ireland.

4. Who may avail of the Research and Query service offered by the RDC?

The query service is provided to staff of the Legal Aid Board and related units of the Department of Justice and Equality. Solicitors and Barristers on the Service for Asylum Seekers panel of the Legal Aid Board may also use the service.

Information packs on specific countries are available to all users. A lending library service is also provided to these users.
Please note the query service and lending library service are not available to members of the public.

5. How do I  complete and submit a query form?

You may access and complete the online query form or download and email it to us at:  rdc@legalaidboard.ie 

Alternatively, you can fax the completed query form to 01 6613113. You may also telephone us with your query on 01 4776250. The majority of requestors choose to receive a response by email; however, the RDC can also provide hard copy responses and documents by post if required.

Queries may also be submitted via the query form available on the E-Library.

6. How can I phrase a query to get the best possible information?

All queries submitted to the RDC should be phrased using impartial and neutral language.  Our role is to source factual information relating to the human rights, security, political, societal, economic, legal, humanitarian, cultural and geographic conditions in countries of origin.

Our task is to provide relevant, reliable, balanced, accurate and verifiable country of origin information. We do not pronounce on the validity or otherwise of individual asylum claims or categories of claims. RDC responses will always be impartial and will not include an appraisal of, or commentary on, information that could influence the person requesting it. The RDC will not use language that suggests a legal assessment or judgment – for example, “confirm/deny”, “persecution”, “extreme”, or “atrocious”.

When submitting a query to us, try to avoid questions which are too general and all-encompassing (e.g. What is the security situation in Syria?) or questions which are so narrowly specific that the likelihood of information being available on the topic is minimal to the extreme (e.g. What is the colour of the latrine walls in the secret underground prison on the outskirts of Malanje?)    

7. How long does it take to answer a query?

The RDC requires a minimum of 5 days to answer a query, though periods longer than this are preferable. If for any reason your specified deadline cannot be met, a member of our team will contact you to discuss. If a revised deadline is acceptable to you, this will then be arranged. All queries subject to a statutory deadline should be clearly marked as such when submitting to the RDC.

8. How may I register as a RDC library member?

You may register as an RDC library member by contacting the library staff at: rdc@legalaidboard.ie

9. If I’m eligible to borrow books/materials from the library, how many may I borrow and for what period of time?

You may borrow three items for a four week period. This is renewable if the items are not required by another borrower.

10. What kind of training courses does the RDC offer?

The RDC offers Country of Origin Information (COI) training courses to staff of the Legal Aid Board and Department of Justice agencies, as well as to solicitors, barristers and NGOs.

The COI training programmes address how to conduct research which results in relevant, reliable and balanced, accurate and up-to-date information. Training courses may be tailored to suit specific needs and workshops can take between 3 hours and 2 days depending on requirements. Training on the use of the RDC's E-Library is usually included on all COI training courses and is also provided as a short stand-alone session, as required.

The RDC is an authorised training provider for the European Asylum Curriculum (EAC) COI Module. This course is delivered as a 4 week online mentored course with a concluding face-to-face training day. It is provided to both national and international participants. The computer-based trainings use research exercises and case studies derived from daily COI work. Materials and hand-outs are provided to participants.

For more information about training, contact us on rdc@legalaidboard.ie