Call for Contributions & Engagement #directprovision16: Direct Provision 16 years on, and on, and on…

DirectProvision16Post by, Caroline Reid, Communications Officer with the Irish Refugee Council


On April 10th 2016 the system of Direct Provision will be 16 years in existence. For the last few years this date has been marked by many people contributing to an open call for submissions (see or #DirectProvision15). These submissions have been varied and came from many different people, sectors and angles. They all served to highlight and explore the failings of Direct Provision and the detrimental impact it is having, and has had, on the men, women and children forced to live within it. The date has been marked retrospectively up until now. This year we want to look forward and concentrate on what could be.

The Government say that there is no alternative.

They say that alternatives have never been put forward.

They say if they end Direct Provision it will mean over 4,000 people will become homeless, as if that is what those who campaign for an end to this inhumane system are advocating for.

Alternatives are possible, they are achievable, but unfortunately there has been no political will from our successive governments to address Ireland’s current and ongoing form of institutionalised living.

Last year saw thousands of people across Ireland offer rooms, houses and other practical solutions for the initial reception of refugees.

The principles of initial short term reception for people in need of asylum have been talked about for quite some time. Based on these, and perhaps more focused areas or groups that may be of interest to you, we are this year not focusing on the legacy of Direct Provision. Instead we are looking forward and we are making a public call for submissions on what alternative models could look like.

Your idea may be for a general initial reception system, a community cooperative scheme, housing collectives or for schemes that enable people to live with people in the community. Perhaps you have something in mind for a particular group of people? We are seeing different models being tried out in other European countries, e.g. for the LGBTIQ asylum seeking community; Female only housing; Specialised accommodation for people who have particular vulnerabilities; Family only accommodation; Perhaps you think there should be special provisions for young people who turn 18 and are removed from their foster carers as they are now considered “aged out minors”? The only thing restricting your submissions is your own creativity in developing a humane and open reception system for people.

Submissions can be written, visual, a blueprint, design based, or simply links to other initiatives happening across the world that you believe we can replicate here. The online campaign will hopefully culminate in plenty of food for thought for our soon to be Government. Let’s make #DirectProvison16 something that we can build on and move forward with. Let’s create political will by offering practical solutions that counter the current government line.

Overarching principles:

~ cap on length of time in initial reception

~ embodies the best interests of the child

~ allows for self-determination

~ is based on care, not profit

~ identifies & supports individuals with special needs & vulnerabilities early on

~ makes early legal advice available

~ includes independent complaints (to the national Ombudsmen)

~ includes inspection mechanisms

~ provides the right to work

~ fosters rather than deters social inclusion

  1. If you are interested in contributing you should email your submissions to
  2. Materials should be forwarded by Wednesday 6th April at 6pm (late arrivals can’t be guaranteed to go live but we will try our best!).  The material must relate to alternatives to the direct provision system, it may simply be your thoughts or reflections.
  3. A number of organisations and individuals have already been invited to contribute; with growing support for an end to Direct Provision this is an excellent opportunity for you to demonstrate your support for this call and to show that you stand in solidarity with the people failed by this inhumane system.

For those not wishing to submit a blog post, but wishing to other wise engage, please let others who may be interested know about this blogathon:

  1. Call your local TD (or their office) and let them know about direct provision; ask your TD what they are doing on your behalf to highlight the failure of the direct provision system. You can find contact details here.
  2. Write or email your local TD on 10th April 2015 asking them to explore and support alternatives to Direct Provision (email addresses available here).
  3. On Twitter, use the hashtag #directprovision16 , please share posts, engage in debate and discussion, raise awareness with friends, family and colleagues.
  4. All of the submissions will be available on or on a Tumblr page set up to mark 16 years of direct provision and what the future could look like if there was political will to change what has become a profiteering system of reception.

Please share this information on your own Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr page and aim for a Twitter storm for the hashtag #directprovision16

Call for Contributions & Engagement #directprovision16: Direct Provision 16 years on, and on, and on…

Out on the Inside

We are delighted to welcome this guest post from Deirdre Malone, Director of the Irish Penal Reform Trust. The Trust recently launched a report on the experiences of LGBT people in prison in Ireland. 


On 22 May 2015 I stood in the yard of Dublin Castle with my own brand new husband and watched the whooping victory of equality over discrimination. As happy newlyweds ourselves, we felt the profound importance of the occasion deeply. We saw Ireland shedding her old identity, becoming something new and brave and proud. On that day, victory felt swift and definitive. In reality it was the culmination of a decade of tenacious work and thousands of brave conversations. It was a challenge to a social system that once felt monolithic, intractable and inevitable. It represented a final blow of years of steady chipping at the hard crust of institutionalized inequality. But I wondered, were LGBT people in prison celebrating too on that day? Would they feel safe to do so?

While for those who work in the NGO sector, 22nd May 2015 was a jolting, joyful reminder that monumental change is indeed possible, the 33rd Amendment did not mark the end of homophobia, harassment or discrimination of LGBT people. That is doubly true for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who are in prison. LGBT prisoners form a “twice marginalized” population, falling outside of the ‘mainstream’ of LGBT community organizing and support services but also hidden and largely overlooked in terms of current prison policy.

International research reveals that homophobia is often amplified in male prisons as a result of a culture of “hyper-masculinity” and the traditional hierarchical structure which prevails. Transgender prisoners, particularly women, face disproportionately high instances and severity of violence and discrimination, both in and out of prison. They are not easily accommodated within the strict male/female structure of most prisons and may also experience violence and voyeurism in the context of prison showers or toilets – a particular concern in Ireland where 45% of prisoners are still required to use the toilet in the presence of another.

LGBT prisoners are also particularly at risk of experiences of discrimination, violence, sexual coercion and verbal harassment. Putting up a front, threatening or even engaging in violence in order to avoid being a victim of abuse is seen as something necessary within the prison environment

Of course, issues of homophobia, transphobia and the wider culture of heteronormativity also affect LGBT prison staff who also have experiences of homophobia, including being the targets of abuse by prisoners. The Irish Prison Service currently participates in the GLEN Diversity Champions programme through the ‘Inside Out’ network for LGBT prison staff but to date there has been no research or policy response addressing the specific needs and experiences of LGBT prisoners.

General good practice measures for safer prisons such as single cell accommodation as standard would help. It is common in many jurisdictions for “at risk prisoners” and LGBT prisoners especially, to be placed in protective custody to safeguard them from victimisation. However in practice conditions in protective segregation are often identical to conditions for prisoners placed in segregation for disciplinary reasons thus breaching fundamental rights principles. This can lead to longer term issues including mental health difficulties caused by the effects of isolation and more limited access to services. It is vital therefore that violent cultures and opportunities for abuse are targeted through the education of prison populations, training of staff, and effective independent complaints procedures. Further research is also needed in the areas of sexual health and behaviours in prison, the experiences of young LGBT people in prison and on the issue of sexual violence and coercion and their prevalence within the prison context.

For many years now, the Irish Penal Reform Trust have been examining and listening to the experiences of diverse vulnerable groups in prison, including Travellers, women, children and young people, and immigration detainees. The recent passage of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014 sets out the positive duties of public bodies to eliminate discrimination, promote equality and protect human rights, and should act as a catalyst to address this area which has been neglected to date. We also hope that the result of the recent same-sex marriage referendum and the passage of the Gender Recognition Act 2015 will provide further impetus for reform to ensure that no LGBT person, wherever they might be, is left behind.

All of this must be understood in the wider context of overuse of imprisonment generally, and the ineffectiveness of the idea of retribution in challenging the conditions which are at the root of most punished crime – poverty, unemployment, homelessness, mental illness, addiction, desperation. The reality is that prison warehouses human misery, and by doing so, compounds it. It takes courage to challenge the status quo, but in every generation it is those that do who will also see the rewards of that courage. A challenge to the overuse of prison would lead to a more progressive, more effective, more humane, evidence-led criminal justice system – something which ultimately benefits us all.

Deirdre Malone is Executive Director of the Irish Penal Reform Trust

The IPRT report “Out on the Inside” was launched on 2 February 2016 at Wood Quay Venue, Dublin on 2 February 2016. It is available to download here

Think this work is important? Join or donate to IPRT here



Out on the Inside

A&L Goodbody and Irish Refugee Council Asylum Law Award 2016

Asylum2016header1The A&L Goodbody and Irish Refugee Council Asylum Law Award 2016 provides UCD students with the opportunity to gain invaluable legal expertise before applying for a career in law. Put your legal drafting and advocacy skills to use in our case study and gain an opportunity to work with the Irish Refugee Council and assist individuals who are seeking refugee status.

The Task

Your task is to review a case study and draft a written legal submission of no more than 2,500 words to the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner in support of your client’s application for refugee status pursuant to the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended). You can download the entry pack, which includes the assigned problem question here.

The Prize

An internship: A four-week internship with the Irish Refugee Council, giving you exposure to real life cases and a first step in your legal career.

€2,000 in cash: Towards your educational fees – or that college loan!

The Judging Panel

Your entry will be reviewed by a judging panel made up of the following industry professionals:

Brian Collins, Senior Solicitor, Irish Refugee Council

Liam Thornton, Human Rights Lecturer, University College Dublin

Eamonn Conlon, Partner and Head of Corporate Responsibility, A&L Goodbody

To enter the competition, please send your submission to by midnight on Friday, 18th March 2016.

Special UCD lecture to help write your entry!

An Introduction to Irish Asylum Law” will take place on Tuesday 16th February from 6pm to 8pm in the William Fry Theatre, UCD Sutherland School of Law.

This introductory seminar on Irish asylum law may be of use to those interested in submitting an entry to the Asylum Law Award 2016. It may be helpful in relation to constructing a response to the case study as posed. This seminar, delivered by Dr Liam Thornton, UCD Sutherland School of Law, will explore:

The legal definition of refugee, including:

  1. What is a ‘well-founded fear’?;
  2. What is meant by the phrase ‘persecution’?;
  3. Exploration of the nexus grounds of particular relevance to the problem question; and
  4. Exclusion from refugee status.

All UCD students (law and non-law students) considering applying for the Asylum Law Award 2016 are welcome to attend this seminar.

A&L Goodbody and Irish Refugee Council Asylum Law Award 2016

Open Letter: Recognition of the Travelling Community as an Ethnic Minority in Ireland

We would like to lend our strong support to the motion recently before the Dail to recognise Travellers as an ethnic minority. This is a long overdue development. The preventable tragedy of Carrickmines brings this imperative further to the fore. History will not look kindly on those individuals and political parties voting to deny Travellers this basic right to ethnic recognition.

c/o Dr. Paul Downes, St. Patrick’s College, Dublin City University

Professor Gerry Whyte, Trinity College Dublin

Leah O’Toole, Marino Institute of Education

John Fitzgerald BL

Dr. Ann Louise Gilligan (retired), St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra

Dr. Padraig Carmody, Trinity College Dublin

Professor Ursula Kilkelly, School of Law, University College Cork

Dr. Stephen Kinsella, University of Limerick

William Binchy, Fellow Emeritus, Trinity College Dublin

Siobhan Phelan SC

Professor Aoife Nolan, School of Law, University of Nottingham

Professor Fionnuala Waldron, St. Patrick’s College, DCU

Marion Brennan, Early Childhood Ireland

Dr Mark Taylor, Goldsmiths, University of London

Dr. Marie Moran, University College Dublin

Professor Carmel Cefai, University of Malta

Dr. Audrey Bryan, St. Patrick’s College, DCU

Declan Dunne, Sophia Housing and Homeless Services,

Denise Mc Cormilla, National Childhood Network

Dr. Maggie Feeley, UCD

Dr Anthony Cullen, Middlesex University, London

Dr. Sylwia Kazmierczak-Murray, Cabra School Completion Programme

Dr. James O’Higgins Norman, DCU

Dr. Padraic Gibson, The Bateson Clinic

Dr. Susan Pike, St. Patrick’s College, DCU

Fran Cassidy, Social Policy Consultant/Filmmaker

Dr. Maeve O’Brien, St. Patrick’s College, DCU

Frank Gilligan, Ballyfermot Local Drugs Task Force

Dr. Geraldine Scanlon, DCU

Dr. Catherine Maunsell, St. Patrick’s College, DCU

Dr. Majella McSharry, DCU

Dr Liam Thornton, UCD

Open Letter: Recognition of the Travelling Community as an Ethnic Minority in Ireland

Book Launch: International Human Rights: Perspectives from Ireland, 8 December 2015

EganOn December 8th 2015,  UCD School of Law will host the launch of Suzanne Egan’s new edited collection International Human Rights: Perspectives from Ireland. The book will be launched by the Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC), Emily Logan.

Location: Gardiner Atrium, UCD School of Law

Time/Date: 6.30pm on 8th December 2015. 


International Human Rights: Perspectives from Ireland examines Ireland’s engagement with, and influence of, the international human rights regime. International human rights norms are increasingly being taken into account by legislators, courts and public bodies in taking decisions and implementing actions that impact on human rights. Featuring chapters by leading Irish and international academic experts, practitioners and advocates, the book combines theoretical as well as practical analysis and integrates perspectives from a broad range of actors in the human rights field. You can access the full table of contents for this book here.  Egan’s collection explores:

  • The philosophical development and challenges to/of human rights;
  • The international human rights framework (UN human rights council; UN Treaty system; EU and ECHR);
  • Implementing human rights in Ireland (Magdalenes, socio-economic rights, rights of the child; human trafficking; religion; privacy; refugee definition; criminal justice, policing and conflict).
  • Implementing human rights abroad (Irish foreign policy and obligations of Irish organisations).

Bloomsbury are offering all registered students (full and part time) a 40% discount on the book, with the discount code: IHR40%. You should enter this code at checkout

Book Launch: International Human Rights: Perspectives from Ireland, 8 December 2015

FLAC: 2016 Thomas Addis Emmet Fellowship

FlacThe Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) is now accepting applications for the 2016 Thomas Addis Emmet Fellowship – a unique opportunity awarded each summer to an Irish law student interested in working on critical social justice issues and developing skills in public interest law practice.

Run in conjunction with the University of Washington, the recipient will spend two months with a public interest law justice centre at the forefront of human rights and social change in Seattle, Washington, gaining hands-on experience of targeted public interest litigation, policy development and campaigns.

The Fellowship is open to all current law students, including students that have studied law as part of their undergraduate degree, postgraduates in law, and students of the King’s Inns or Law Society professional practice courses.

To apply please submit an essay on an area of public interest law of your choice (max. 2000 words) along with a cover letter and CV to by Friday 15 January 2016.

For more information, please download the information sheet.

FLAC: 2016 Thomas Addis Emmet Fellowship

Call for Submissions-Lacuna Magazine

Lacuna is an online Magazine published by the Centre for Human Rights in Practice which challenges indifference to suffering and promotes human rights. Its aim is to fill the gap between the short-term immediacy of daily journalism and long-term academic analysis.
Lacuna is now revisiting the theme of protest and will be publishing a Special Issue on this theme in February 2016. We are now seeking submissions, with a closing date of December 31st 2015.
All forms of writing and visual art will be considered: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, film, animation and photography. You may wish to investigate a particular instance of protest, to provide commentary, reportage or expert analysis of a protest-related theme. Or you may wish to review a book, a film, a piece of music, art or theatre connected to protest.
We are interested in exploring the diverse spectrum of forms of protest: boycotts; marches; strikes;  sit ins; direct actions; online petitions; songs; stories and many more. What makes protests in all of these forms enticing, legitimate, rewarding, fruitful…? What are the wrongs that provoke our anger and how do we take action in response? We are particularly interested in work that seeks to uncover peoples’ motivations for protesting, what they seek to achieve by protesting, and/or the outcomes of their actions.
Call for Submissions-Lacuna Magazine

LLM in Law with socio-legal focus at DCU

DCUThe School of Law and Government at Dublin City University (DCU) invites applications for its taught Masters in law (LLM). The School is unique in the Irish academic legal landscape for its core “law and society” research theme and its focus on socio-legal studies. DCU’s LLM in Law specifically sets out to be different from other taught Masters in law. It offers a fantastic range of innovative, challenging modules and aims to enhance and expand not only students’ substantive knowledge of the law but their practical legal skill-sets. The LLM programme team is dedicated to using innovative, experiential and skills-based pedagogical strategies in order to facilitate students with an active and student-centric learning experience. This LLM is designed to deliver strong potential employees to the marketplace, and strong critical thinkers to the research community. If you want to deepen your ability to examine and critique the law in its societal context and increase your applied legal competencies then this LLM is for you.

DCU’s LLM in Law is delivered as a one-year, full-time programme. Students will take one core year-long module in Legal and Socio-Legal Research Skills. This will provide students with important skills to analyse and critique the legal research of others, along with a robust grounding for their own completion of an independent research Dissertation (15,000 – 20,000 words). In addition to the core Legal and Socio-Legal Research Skills module and the Dissertation students can choose four optional modules (two in each semester).

Full details on these modules (which include international law modules, commercial law modules, socio-legal and public law modules) along with further information on the LLM programme are available here.

Applications are via and the closing date is July 31st 2015.

LLM in Law with socio-legal focus at DCU

PILA Seminar: The Duty of the State in Constitutional Cases– 7 July, Dublin

PILAFollowing their recent book, ‘Public interest litigation and social change in South Africa: Strategies, tactics and lessons’, Gilbert Marcus SC and Nick Ferreira are visiting Dublin to share learning in public interest litigation.

Date:                     7 July 2015

Time:                    5.30pm – 7pm

Venue:                 The Morrison Hotel, Lower Ormond Quay

Marcus and Ferreira will explore the duty of the State in constitutional cases, followed by a panel discussion with Michael Lynn SC and Noeline Blackwell of FLAC on the experience of public interest litigators in Ireland. The seminar will be chaired by former Attorney General, Paul Gallagher SC.

This event is a must for those interested in how to best use rights, law and litigation to advance social change. Continue reading “PILA Seminar: The Duty of the State in Constitutional Cases– 7 July, Dublin”

PILA Seminar: The Duty of the State in Constitutional Cases– 7 July, Dublin