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Martin Kenny TD questions purpose of Department of Justice monitoring commentary critical of Direct Provision

17 August, 2020 - by Martin Kenny TD

Martin KennySinn Féin spokesperson on Justice Martin Kenny TD has called on Minister Helen McEntee to give clarity on the issue of the Department of Justice monitoring commentary made on Twitter that is critical of Direct Provision.

Deputy Kenny was responding to revelations in the Sunday Independent, revealed under Freedom of Information, that department officials have been compiling daily reports of social media posts by celebrities, politicians, asylum seekers and members of the public discussing the Direct Provision system.

Speaking today, Teachta Kenny said: “The revelations beg the question why the Department is monitoring and holding this information on those critical of its activities, in this case regarding the system of Direct Provision.

“Is this normal practice in other government departments too and if so, to what use do they put this information?

“Minister McEntee has many avenues to explore if she wants to know how people feel about the Direct Provision system or other aspects of her department.

“The social media posts collated, released under Freedom of Information, contained valid concerns for the human rights and living conditions of extremely vulnerable people.

"It it therefore worrying that there is an impression that those critical of the system are being monitored. 

"The people identified in the reports deserve to know what the purpose is of collating their opinions. The minister needs give clarify on this for starters and, more importantly, actually address the shameful legacy of Direct Provision. 

"Successive governments have failed to do so, despite the system being long proven to be broken, inhumane, and debasing of human beings. 

"The minister and her department need to face up to that reality instead of monitoring people on Twitter."

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