Criticism of the Direct Provision System grows

Criticism of  the Direct Provision System grows

In the last five weeks  there have been at least nine separate articles in Irish Newspapers critical of the Direct Provision system in which Asylum Seekers are required to live.  Some of these have been linked to on this website.  (See below. Those repeating  similar content have been omitted.

These articles have listed the criticism and concerns of notable individuals in Irish Society including; retired Supreme Court Judge, Catherine McGuinness, Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, Geoffery Shannon, the Government-appointed Special Rapporteur for Children and the new Child and Family Agency’s Chairwoman, Norah Gibbons.   In today’s Irish Times (6 August 2013) Dr Liam Thornton is a lecturer in law and director of clinical legal education at UCD School of Law adds his voice to the discussion of the Direct Provision System.

Criticism of the Direct Provision system has been levelled due to a number of reasons

  • The sheer length of time it takes – two-thirds of the 2,340  asylum seekers have been living in Direct Provision hostels for more than three years some up to ten years.
  • It was predicted that at some future point the government will find it necessary to apologise publicly for the damage done, in particular, to the children of asylum seekers – just as it has had to apologise to former residents of industrial schools and the Magdalene laundries who were the victims of abuse as well as of state indifference.
  • Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly has warned Ireland’s treatment of asylum seekers “may well be in breach of not just our own Constitution but also international human rights conventions”.
  • “there is a real risk of child abuse in the centres where single-parent families are required to share with strangers and where families with teenage children of opposite gender are required to share one room.”
  • The system is “not a place to be bringing up children” especially because families are kept in it for many years,

Today (6 August 2013) another two Articles appear – one in The Irish Examiner focusing on Child Abuse allegations in Direct Accommodation Centres that have been reported to the HSE and echoing the overall unsuitability of the Direct Provision System.  Read more   The Second Article in the Irish Times written by  Dr Liam Thornton is a lecturer in law and director of clinical legal education at UCD School of Law questions the legal basis for the Direct provision System.  Read more

These articles are bringing the government under increasing pressure to act.  While it is intended to bring the long awaited Immigration and Residence Bill before the Dail this year (for the third time) this will legislate for future Asylum Seekers who come to Ireland it will not change the situation of those already here.  It is our hope that the Government will listen to this growing criticism.  We hope it will act to resolve and to end what we, on this website, have referred to on many occasions as “enforced idleness” and “a state of limbo.” Forcing people to live years beyond the intended six months that the Direct Provision was designed for is unjust and a waste of life.