Asylum seekers arriving in Ireland are denied the right to work and are accommodated in full-board hostel accommodation known as Direct Provision. Here they may spend up to seven years or more, with many families living in crowded conditions with limited personal autonomy. Concerns have been raised by academics, health professionals and the international community. NGOs have been to the fore in advocating for change and a more humane system. This study explores this NGO advocacy, focusing on how it is received at state level and how the advocates attempt to put their concerns on the public policy agenda. The concept of agenda setting (Kingdon 1995) played a key role, informed further by theories of advocacy and more specifically pro-asylum advocacy, which carries particular challenges. Whilst some windows of opportunity have opened for advocates, they did not stay open for long and overall policy reform attempts have been unsuccessful. Divergent worldviews of advocates and state actors made consensus difficult. The study also proposes a revised framework theoretical framework for understanding the intersection between advocacy and agenda setting in the policy making process.