#DirectProvision15: Children in Direct Provision

DP15_logoFrom an End DP Limerick member, who wishes to remain anonymous. 

Sitting in my kitchen watching my toddler play with a saucepan, spoon and some dried pasta, I feel very privileged. Recently I visited a direct provision centre, one of a number throughout the country where people seeking asylum from persecution are placed by the state while awaiting a decision on their case. There are 1500 children living in these centres. They have no access to a kitchen – the heart of most Irish homes.

Children living in direct provision queue for the meals, along with their parents. They are served three meals a day in a canteen within the centre. Parents living in the centre I visited tell me that their children often can’t eat the food; it’s spicy everyday they say – too spicy for their young palettes. Bananas are given on a Thursday: if your child wants a banana on a Monday, they’ll just have to wait. Parents are provided with baby formula until the child is 1 year old, but when they turn 1, it is taken away – the parents have no choice in this. I ask if there are children’s meals or if any alternative is provided if the children can’t or won’t eat what is offered. I am told there is not. As a parent of two small children this seems like an impossibility to me. While my eldest has gotten better with age, I often have to resort to plans B, C, and D to ensure my incorrigibly stubborn toddler doesn’t starve. Continue reading #DirectProvision15: Children in Direct Provision

#DirectProvision15: Making Visible

DP15_logoThis guest post coincides with today’s moments of silence outside the Department of Justice, making 15 years of direct provision in Ireland. Events are also taking place in Galway and Limerick.
Making Visible – Ceara Conway, Noirin Ni Rian and Veronika Ncube

St Nicholas’s Cathedral, Galway,Ireland
6th January, 2014
One of a series of socially engaged ritual performances by Ceara Conway. Created through a year long process of engagement with Able Women, a group of women seeking asylum in Ireland.
This performance highlights aspects of ‘Able Women’s’ experiences of living within the Direct Provision system in Galway City through voice and lament.
This project was supported by the Arts Council Artist in the Community Scheme , managed by Create.

(Film – Flying Knee Productions and Nora Duggan)

#DirectProvision15: UNKNOWN

DP15_logoThis poem comes from Bibly Mosa


I have arrive and concluded the story

But am nervous to roll the scroll.

I will like to say is all over but we just began,

Loved to end it all but my mind is not at rest.

Emotions are dip but saturated with the love of continuity.

How do I phrase the sentence? How can I illustrate that am human.

My life unknown, born alive but live as the dead.

I had a faith which has fade, for life hard so I crack my heard to live.

Words are not far but I eat pictures to be free, because burned mouth has no laugher.

Tree may die but we may try,

For living is text when hands are tied.

Who can tell when it will all end or ever know if the dead feels a pain.

Most don’t care about what they don’t see.

#DirectProvision15: The need for an independent complaints mechanism

DP15_logoJennifer DeWan is Campaigns and Communications Manager in Nasc, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre.

Nasc, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre has long campaigned for the introduction of an independent complaints mechanism to provide oversight of the direct provision system. The current complaints system – outlined in the Reception and Integration Agency’s (RIA) House Rules and Procedures – has been widely discredited as dysfunctional because of its lack of impartiality.[1]

This criticism has been recently validated in the judgment delivered by High Court Justice Mac Eochaidh in his decision in C.A. and T.A (14 November 2014), which deemed the complaints mechanism (along with other aspects of the House Rules) unlawful.

This decision is an extremely welcome development. It finally vindicates the views that many asylum seekers have continually expressed. Over the years, Nasc has heard many complaints from residents about conditions in direct provision. Most of these complaints are never officially made, as there is little faith amongst residents in the current complaints mechanism.

In our experience many asylum seekers are reluctant to complain about their treatment in direct provision, and this reluctance stems more often than not from a belief that they would be targeted by the management of the centre or RIA. Another reason we hear that residents do not complain is the fear that it may somehow negatively impact their protection application or result in some other form of punishment, such as a punitive transfer. Continue reading #DirectProvision15: The need for an independent complaints mechanism

#DirectProvision15: 15 years of the system of Direct Provision in Ireland

DP15_logoHuman Rights in Ireland have been running a week long online event since Monday to mark the 15th year of Direct Provision in Ireland. Throughout the week, there have been new and retrospective contributions from a cross section of civil society, NGOs, supporters and legal professionals highlighting the issue of Direct Provision: 15 years of reports, research, newspaper articles, blogs, videos and quotes about the damage this system has caused and continues to cause.

Dr Liam Thornton, Lecturer in Law at UCD and c0-organiser of the #DirectProvision15 event said, “The 15th anniversary of Direct Provision should give us time for pause and reflection on the many years that asylum seekers have lost to this system. Given Irish societies past practices of institutionalisation and confinement of vulnerable groups, the fact that asylum seekers can spend many years in Direct Provision is not only tragic, but wrong.”

Liam went on to say, “Once again we find ourselves reiterating the call for an end to Direct Provision. It is a system that is controlling and demeaning by its very nature. The total denial of self-sufficiency, and the indignity foisted upon residents within enclosed institutional settings will become yet another shameful part of Irish history.”

Ellie, a current resident of Direct Provision said, “It is important for us to come together to mark this date. So many people, including children, are suffering under this system. We need hope, we need to know that the change that is so badly needed is on its way. That is why today we are sending a clear message to the Government and the Working Group: Stop the suffering. Stop the damage. Hopes have been raised, please do not let us down again.”

Tomorrow, Friday 10 April 2015 (the precise anniversary), asylum seekers and supporters will gather outside the Department of Justice at 1 pm for a moments silence for the years of limbo, the children growing up, and the lives lost in the Direct Provision system.



Caroline Reid, Communications Officer with the Irish Refugee Council and co-organiser of #DirectProvision15, 085 858 5510


Direct Provision: A Select Timeline (the third edition), by Liam Thornton



10 April event will include speakers who have experienced life inside Direct Provision, large colourful cards that spell out the word ‘Hope’ and flowers. A moments silence will then take place to mark this unfortunate anniversary.

#DirectProvision15. A moments silence for the years lost.

Direct Provision was established as a short-term accommodation solution to house people seeking asylum in Ireland. 15 years on, people spend an average of four years in these centres, some have spent upwards of ten years.

#DirectProvision15: Direct Provision A Protest Poem

DP15_logoHere’s a poem I wrote for Comhlamh fifteen years ago, on the introduction of Direct Provision. They launched a booklet and asked me to say a few words. I read the booklet, was horrified, and wrote this poem.  It’s with a sense of shame that I submit it, fifteen years later, with Direct Provision, supposedly introduced as a temporary measure, still in force.
I’ll be performing it, with musical accompaniment by Brian Fleming, at the Sheehy-Skeffington Human Rights School in the Irish Institute Dublin on 18th April.

Direct Provision


A Protest Poem


Written by Donal O’Kelly in April 2000




Sleeping, eating, thinking,

Sleeping, eating, thinking,

Fifteen pounds a week – what else but

Sleeping, eating, thinking.


You’re in your rainy centre

Looking out the door

On your fourth cup of too-weak tea

At the people passing by

In cars and on buses and wheeling bikes

Mammies with buggies and kids with mits

And a lollipop lady dodging the splashes

From lorries in the pothole puddles …

And you think

How you would like

To have somewhere to go

And something busy to do

In the falling morning rain

But you’re consigned, asylum-seeker

You’re confined to

Sleeping, eating, thinking,

Sleeping, eating, thinking,

On fifteen pounds a week – what else but

Sleeping – eating – thinking.




Meanwhile, in Dublin Continue reading #DirectProvision15: Direct Provision A Protest Poem

#DirectProvision15: Mathematical Dilemma about Direct Provision

DP15_logoThis post comes from Stephen Ng’ang’a

15 years ago a system was signed off by some civil servants. This system now called direct provision was meant to accommodate those seeking asylum for a period of 6 months. Today the system prides itself for having been in place for 15 years. It has continued to exist with impunity and has denied asylum seekers the basic right of freedom to even choose what to eat and when to eat it. Parents cannot cook for their children and have been denied the right to work.

Direct provision is a moving target. There are no signs to end it; the government is talking of reforming it. Asylum rights campaigners are demanding for an end to direct provision. The million dollar question is who is direct provision meant to serve? Does it give value for money to the tax payer? Why did the government endorse a profit model to a public good? Should asylum seekers be treated any better? Continue reading #DirectProvision15: Mathematical Dilemma about Direct Provision

#DirectProvision15: Asylum Seekers and the Right to Work

DP15_logoThis video is from a group of Occupational Therapy students. Kerrie McGroarty writes: “As part of our college work myself and a group of other students created a video looking at the impact not being allowed to work has on asylum seekers.”

#DirectProvision15: FIGHTBACK!

These series of imagines, from Rory O’Neill, show the role of asylum seekers and their supporters in fighting back and calling for an end of direct provision. You can view all photos from this protest, on 20 November 2014, Universal Children’s Day, here.


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#DirectProvision15: Preforming Precarity and Asylum Seekers Struggle Against Direct Provision

DP15_logoJordana Starkman is currently a student at Concordia University in Montreal. Jordana recently wrote and presented a paper for a conference run through the school of Canadian Irish Studies at Concordia on direct provision and the bravery and strength of the protests against it. For ease of reading, you can also access the full paper here: Performing Precarity .

Performing Precarity:

Asylum Seekers in Ireland and the Struggle Against Direct Provision

In August 2014, Felix Dzamara, a Zimbabwean asylum seeker in Ireland1, addressed a demonstration of both Irish residents and fellow asylum seekers in Limerick with the emphatic announcement “We did not come here to be put in prison again, but we are in prison.”2 The prison to which Dzamara referred is the institution of direct provision, a governmental system intended to ensure the welfare of asylum seekers and their families as they await decisions on their asylum applications. In 2000, the Irish Government reconfigured approaches to providing for asylum seekers entering the country after an influx of arrivals prompted new questions about the treatment and rights of such individuals. The Department of Justice gained primary responsibility for asylum seeker’s welfare and introduced a system known as direct provision, which limited support to basic, state provided housing accommodations and meals in direct provision centres, and a weekly, subsidiary monetary allowance of 19.10 euro for adults and 9.60 euro for children.3

Rather than meet the needs of individuals or families awaiting decisions on their asylum applications, this framework has been found in most cases to cause isolation and extreme poverty.4 The system of direct provision, which many live under for three years, with others remaining for upwards of seven, is structured by restrictive rules that dictate when and where one may eat, limits privacy, does not consistently safeguard healthcare, and prohibits individuals from seeking employment.5 Continue reading #DirectProvision15: Preforming Precarity and Asylum Seekers Struggle Against Direct Provision