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Direct Provision: 'None of us can stand over it, it's just not acceptable'

Junior Minister Aodhan O’Riordain said he is responsible now and he wants to change the system.

Bijoux Nseya (left) and Natalie Mundeke protest outside Leinster House this afternoon calling for an end Direct Provision.
Bijoux Nseya (left) and Natalie Mundeke protest outside Leinster House this afternoon calling for an end Direct Provision.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE COMMITMENT BY Government to address the current system of Direct Provision has been welcomed by Nasc, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre.

Within the key priorities agreed by Fine Gael and Labour, the reforming of  the current system of Direct Provision has been announced in order to make it “more respectful to the applicant and less costly to the taxpayer”.

Asylum applicants

The Government has also committed to the introduction of a Protection Bill, which will bring a single procedure for asylum applicants. Under this, the three forms of international protection will be refugee status, subsidiary protection and leave to remain on humanitarian grounds and will significantly reduce the length of time that asylum applicants spend in the system, said Nasc.

Speaking on Today FM’s The Last Word with Matt Cooper, the Junior Minister Aodhan O’Riordain said he wants to change the system, adding he does not think that it is acceptable in its current state

Speaking on the programme, he said that there are currently 24 centres housing 4,300 people, 1700 of which are children.

He said under the new Government priorities he said Labour had insisted that the system be reformed.

None of us can stand over it, it’s just not acceptable.

He added: “It is my responsibility now and I take that responsibility very seriously.”

No change since 2000 

Of those living in Direct Provision, 10% have been living there for over 7 years. Adults can not work and they get just €19.10 per adult per week. This amount has not changed since 2000.  Each child is allocated just €9.60 per week.

Nasc CEO, Fiona Finn said they have been campaigning for years for the introduction of the Single Procedure and reform of Direct Provision.

“This is a very encouraging and welcome development, as is the commitment to establish an Independent Working Group to report to Government on improvements with the protection process, including Direct Provision and supports for asylum seekers.”

She said they welcomed this positive development but would emphasise that this Working Group must be “clear, effective and transparent in their work and must seek the input of Civil Society Organisations and NGOs working in the area”.

The Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has committed to meeting with Nasc where they said they hope to raise these issues.

Read: Austerity has ‘weakened’ the human rights of Ireland’s most vulnerable>

Opinion: Ireland warehouses asylum-seekers, institutionalises them and leaves them in limbo>

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