Government plans to extend Direct Provision ‘appalling’ – Ó Clochartaigh
Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has accused the government of a lack of transparency when it comes to the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Ireland. Speaking during debate on the motion establishing measures which would allow Ireland take refugees from Italy and Greece, Senator Ó Clochartaigh said:
“The fact is we know nothing about what is planned for these people once they get here. The entire process is cloaked in indifference and bureaucracy, and lacks transparency.
“There has been no engagement with the public or with communities on the ground. Not one of the NGO’s working with refugees, immigrants, and with people in Direct Provision have been consulted by the Department of Justice or by the agencies who work in this area.
“The recent track record of this State in supporting and protecting asylum seekers is shameful. Since 2003, Ireland is the only State in the European Union to opt out of EU Directives laying down minimum standards for the reception of asylum seekers.
“For 15 years, the State has placed asylum seekers into the discredited Direct Provision System, condemning them to years in limbo and denying them the right to work. This history of inaction and indifference to the plight of asylum seekers has been the hallmark of this government and previous governments.
“It is alarming that traumatised people fleeing war and destruction may now find themselves and their children in what can only be described as a form of Neo-Direct Provision.
“It’s like déjà vu that on the back of two Reports – one from the Oireachtas Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions and the other from the Working Group established by your government to look into improvements to the protection process, including Direct provision, that we are now looking at the possibility that the system is about to grow and expand as part of this resettlement regime.
“People should be outraged at the news that people, who are already making huge profits from the lucrative Direct Provision business, are about to be awarded contracts to house refugees in hotels such as the Hazel Hotel in Monasterevin, and in premises in Cork and Kerry.
“The government has not provided any additional resources to already stretched schools, hospitals, and publics service providers who will be expected to cater to these people.
“What message does this send to people who have already spent years in Direct Provision and who are desperately hanging on to the tiniest bit of hope in order to survive with some morsel of human dignity and hope.
“The extension of Direct Provision creates a hierarchy, not just of refugees and immigrants, but of desperation and of uncertainty. The bottom line is the growth and extension of Direct Provision is not acceptable.”