I recently raised my concerns over the current system in place for people living in direct provision centres around the country. O’Loughlin outlined the need to redevelop the current system during a Dáil debate last week.
We must be innovative in the way we integrate people in Direct Provision in to Irish society and we must be educating society on the reasons for direct provision centres and the reasons people are fleeing for a better life.
The need for change is paramount. Direct provision is an unnatural setting. Living in direct provision significantly interferes with the right to have one’s private family life protected. Gandhi wrote: The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members’- There is no doubt that those who come to this country seeking asylum are very vulnerable.
The current system of direct provision centres was established 20 years ago on a temporary basis. It is now long past its sell by date and it must be changed to reflect the country we live in today. We are talking about men, women, boys and girls. There are children who need and want to live their lives with dignity and respect, to be able to dream and to have a far better quality of life than they currently have.
There are approximately 1,500 asylum seekers in emergency accommodation. Approximately 300 of those are children. They reside in hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation where they can be shipped like cattle to alternative accommodation to make way for various events being held in the hotels. They grow up in bed and breakfast accommodation and hotels where they must adhere to curfews which is simply not on.
I’ve visited both The Eyre Powell and the Hazel hotel on a number of occasions and I meet residents of both centres on a regular basis in my offices. Most of them are frustrated with the fact that they are not allowed work and their drive deteriorates the longer they are in these centres.
The Minister must take action to develop a new system to aid asylum seekers coming to Ireland and to allow integration into society at a faster rate.