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like prison

"If you manage to get here in strong mental health, this system will sap your soul and spirit"

A TD who is visiting direct provision centres said if Irish people were treated like this anywhere in the world – there would be delegations demanding change.
If Irish people were treated like this anywhere else in the world – there would be delegations going to countries demanding change.

THAT’S HOW DIRECT Provision Centres were described after visits to Galway and Limerick over the past two weeks.

Members of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions are touring centres across the country and will go to Mosney today.

Chairman, Sinn Féin TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, told that it is invaluable to see direct provision centres first hand and examine the conditions people are living in.

“They were only ever envisaged as a very temporary accommodation and even at that they are not somewhere you’d want to stay for six months- certainly not 12 years- which is what some people have had to do.

It’s not much improvement from a prison cell- the only real difference is that you can go out for a walk during the day but in terms of living conditions- there’s not much difference at all.

“Some of the asylum seekers told us that they have been offered jobs but they can’t work due to the law as it stands.”

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MacLochlainn said, ”The people coming to direct provision centres have come from deeply traumatic situations and then they are locked into this system for years and years- if that doesn’t cause mental health problems- I don’t know what would.

If you manage to get here in strong mental health- this system will sap your soul and spirit.

“The system is indefensible – it’s shameful really on our state.

Ireland is deeply respected in the developing world and unfortunately what were doing is undermining the reputation we have as a compassionate country.

The Committee will write up a report for the working group established to examine what improvements should be made to the direct provision system.

The chairman said, “We will do the reports in March and it will feed into this working group.

“We really need to see legislation which speeds up the asylum application process- it traps people.”

Read: The number of people applying for asylum in Ireland last year more than doubled>

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