Children under five account for 25% of deaths in Direct Provision – Ó Clochartaigh
Sinn Féin’s Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has asked the Minister for State Aodhán Ó Riordáin to explain why children under the age of five account for a quarter of all deaths in Direct Provision.
Speaking during debate in the Seanad on the Direct Provision system, Senator Ó Clochartaigh said:
“According to Department of Justice and Equality figures, sixty-one people living in Direct Provision have died since its establishment in 2002.
“Of these, sixteen were young children or infants under the age five.
“In other words infants and very young children account for a quarter or 25 % of all deaths of people living in Direct Provision.
“This is a shocking figure.
“What is more alarming is that according to a written response from Minister Fitzgerald's department to a parliamentary question, it is believed that a number of these deaths were suspected cot deaths and still births.
“There is a very close correlation between cot deaths and still births, and poor living conditions and poverty.
“The department’s response highlights the appalling failure of the state and in particular the Reception and Integration Agency who has overall responsibility for the system, to collect and put into the public domain in-depth data in relation to health outcomes for pregnant asylum seekers and their children.
“We have a responsibility and a duty to ask why children between the ages of 0-5 account for a quarter of all deaths of people living in Direct Provision.
“This rate of infant mortality would not be tolerated in the wider society and it raises fundamental questions about the suitability of Direct Provision for women and children.
“The Minister for Children, the Minister for Health, and the Minister for Justice have serious questions to answer in relation to these deaths and they should do so before the Dáil.
“As law makers they are enforcing and legitimizing the Direct Provision system. The responsibility for deaths in the system begins and ends with them.”ENDS