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Direct Provision Report to be debated in Dáil - Adams

16 April, 2015 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin Leader and Louth TD Gerry Adams has welcomed the commitment from the Taoiseach that the government will hold a debate in the Dáil following the publication of the report from the McMahon Working Group into the Direct Provision system.

Teachta Adams raised the issue with the Taoiseach yesterday during Order of Business.

Teachta Adams said:

“The Direct Provision system is 15 years old this month, but it has been widely condemned for the ill-treatment of refugees who are denied the right to work and are paid a derisory living allowance.

“The Direct Provision system was originally intended to accommodate asylum seekers for six months. Today, almost half of the 4,324 people living in the system have been there for five years and many have been there longer than that. Twenty five per cent of people living in the centres have been there for more than six years. At least one person has been in the system for 14 years. In addition, figures from the Minister for Justice have revealed that 61 asylum seekers have died in direct provision since 2002. 16 of these were under five. This is unacceptable.

“Conditions in the centres are also unacceptable. They are overcrowded with families often sharing one room. To the government’s shame, around one third (1529) of those in the 34 DP centres are children.

“Successive Irish governments have paid private contractors over €850 million to run these centres since 2000. Some own more than one centre and some have received more than €100 million in state funding.

“The Taoiseach previously told me that the report of the working group chaired by Mr. Justice Bryan MacMahon would be published by March, then it became Easter.

“In his reply to me on Wednesday the Taoiseach said that Justice McMahon expects ‘to submit his final report to the Minister before the end of May’. I know from speaking to him that the range of cases arising has been much more extensive than one might have imagined. I do not wish to speculate on the outcome but it will be debated in the House when the Minister publishes it. It is a matter of considerable importance.” 

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