|Tomas Allen Society|
In line with its commitment to challenging homelessness, economic inequalities and unethical housing policies in Ireland, the Tomás Allen 1916 Society has joined the national ‘End Institutional Living’ campaign which calls for an end to the ‘Direct Provision’ system and its replacement with a fair and efficient alternative that protects and ensures the welfare of asylum seekers in Ireland.
- There are 34 ‘for profit’ centres operated by private firms benefiting from state contracts to the tune of €62 million per year.
- 4624 adults and 1732 children are currently warehoused in one-room units forced to live for up to 12 years without a decision on their application being made.
- The current system forces asylum seekers into complete dependence on the state, without the ability to remove themselves from the Direct Provision system
- Residents within the system must subsist on €19.70 for an adult and €5.60 for a child per week, without entitlement to any other assistance
- Residents are not permitted to work and exclusion from work results in economic apartheid
- Residents are not allowed to cook, have no control over the food they and their families are fed, or the means to buy food. They must eat in cafeterias and have no control over the times of their meals
- School leavers have no access to higher education or training
- This enforced poverty means children are excluded from field and school trips, from playing after-school sports and have no access to play areas, toys or a normal family life in these centres
- Women must often resort to ‘sex work’ in order to provide for basic necessities for their families
- Adults and particularly children in direct provision are socially excluded, isolated and marginalised from Irish society
- Overcrowding, a complete lack of privacy, dignity or free will, causes intolerable distress to families living under the constant threat of deportation on a daily basis
This inhumane and discriminatory system, reminiscent of that forced upon the Irish populace by English colonialists in the form of the Victorian ‘Workhouses’ for the destitute poor, following the enactment of Westminster’s Poor Law Act of 1838, must be rejected as an affront to our native traditions and customs.
Much like the Victorian Workhouse model, this current system only meets the most rudimentary needs of food and shelter without any consideration beyond basic human need. It promotes child poverty and exposes vulnerable people to loneliness, despair, social segregation and exploitation.
- Name and shame companies and businesses which profiteer from the misery and suffering of vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees in Ireland
- Liaise with and support the work of the Irish Refugee Council, Irish Immigrant Support Centre (NASC), and the Migrant Rights Centre in their fight to ‘end institutionalised’ living in Ireland
- March in future national demonstrations highlighting this injustice
- Advocate for these vulnerable people by encouraging others to investigate the spectre of ‘direct provision’ in Ireland and get involved in the campaign to abolish it
- Organise a charitable donation of toys for children living in direct provision
- Challenge public officials to adopt this humanitarian agenda