The Supreme Court has ruled that a Burmese man living in direct provision for more than seven years is entitled to bring a further appeal against the rejection of his 'right to work' case.

The court said the man's case raises issues of "widespread importance" on whether an asylum seeker awaiting a decision on their application for asylum or protection is entitled to seek to earn a livelihood.

In handing down its decision, the court noted the delays in the asylum system.

The decision means the man may bring an appeal to the Supreme Court against the Court of Appeal's dismissal, by a two to one majority, of his case. 

A hearing date for the appeal will be fixed later.

The court said the issue of whether or not an asylum seeker is entitled to seek to earn a livelihood for themselves and their family is "a matter of widespread importance" and went "far beyond" the personal interest of the man.

The court said it was open to question whether the relevant laws preclude the relevant minister, or government generally, from giving limited permission to work for some applicants, perhaps after a period of time, the court said.

If there was a fundamental bar on such limited permission being granted, that raised issues about the extent to which constitutional rights apply to non-Irish nationals seeking refugee status or subsidiary protection and about the constitutionality of that bar, it said.

Shortly after coming to Ireland in late 2008, the man who took the case was refused refugee status, but appealed that refusal.

Arising from High Court findings of errors in how his applications were decided, a re-hearing was held before the Refugee Appeals Tribunal in July 2015 and its decision is awaited.

In his High Court action seeking permission to work, the man said, having lived in Direct Provision since late 2008 on a €19 weekly allowance, he has suffered depression and "almost complete loss of autonomy".

Being allowed to work is vital to his development, personal dignity and "sense of self worth", he said.

In dismissing his appeal after the High Court rejected his case, Mr Justice Sean Ryan and Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan disagreed with their Court of Appeal colleague Mr Justice Gerard Hogan that the open -ended nature of the ban on work meant Section 9.4.b of the Refugee Act is unconstitutional.

The majority rejected as "too broad a proposition" that non-Irish citizens enjoy the same general rights as Irish citizens.

Dissenting, Mr Justice Hogan held the man has a personal right under Article 40.3 of the Constitution to work here.

Section 9.4.b, by allowing open-ended and indefinite exclusion for over seven years from the labour market, was unconstitutional as it struck at the "very substance" of the man's constitutional right to earn a livelihood, the judge held.