Sinn Féin spokesperson on Equality, Integration and Law Reform, Pa Daly TD, has welcomed aspects of the recommendations contained in a Government report on the future of Direct Provision.
Teachta Daly said:
“It’s been clear for many years now that our country’s Direct Provision system simply isn’t fit for purpose. It often sees some of the most vulnerable members of our society treated in an inhumane way.
“I welcome aspects of this report as an opportunity to finally address the long running scandal of Direct Provision.
“This report recognises the reality that many of the current for-profit providers cannot provide humane and safe accommodation.
“The most significant recommendation of the report is for own-door accommodation to be provided by approved housing bodies for those in the protection process. While conditions in the centers have long been subject to claims of being substandard, the pandemic has exposed unacceptable issues such as over-crowding and lack of privacy, with many residents unable to self-isolate properly when they have symptoms of Covid-19.
“This was an issue during the outbreak in the Skellig Star in Cahersiveen, and in other centres, and there must not be any further delays on the matter. There are legally binding standards for providers coming into force in January 2021, and it is clear many existing centres will not meet these standards.
“This is a natural consequence of a for-profit model, which has seen some operators earn into the hundreds of millions of Euro. This is clearly a flawed approach.
“Replacing this inadequate and inhumane system will show more compassion to those seeking refuge here, save the state millions, up to €40 million per year, and enable it to comply with its moral and legal obligations.
“It’s now time for action. This report must transfer into real-life, meaningful change for people in Direct Provision as a matter of urgency.”