Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has written to the Minister for Justice following media reports which suggest that additional Direct Provision Centres are being considered for up to 8 regions across the State, including County Louth, to accommodate up to five and a half thousand asylum seekers in the coming years.
Teachta Adams said:
“Reports suggest that the Department of Justice is seeking providers to operate new direct provision centres across the State to house almost 5,500 asylum seekers in the coming years.
“I have written to the Minister for Justice to seek additional information about the possible locations of these centres and whether any are planned for Louth.
“Sinn Féin has long expressed our concerns at the direct provision system. It is not fit for purpose and should be replaced with a more humane, human rights compliant system. I have visited Mosney Direct Provision Centre several times and met with asylum seekers from that and other centres. A succession of reports have been critical of the system, including one two years ago which spoke to children held in these centres.
“The main conclusion emerging from that report was that children and young people living in direct provision are dissatisfied with the system. The report described how children and young people said that their ‘personal well-being, family life, private life and social life is adversely affected by long stays in the Direct Provision centres.’ They described their accommodation as ‘overcrowded’ and ‘dirty’ and the Direct Provision system as ‘not fair’, and ‘not safe.’
“Asylum seekers have also told me of the practical difficulties of living in a Direct Provision Centre, often isolated in a remote area with no public transport, trying to survive on a miserly stipend from the government and whole families living together in one room.
“If the government insists on not scrapping the system then at the very least Direct Provision requires a fundamental overhaul, with more resources for asylum seekers and local communities. There needs to be fulsome community engagement, additional infrastructure supports and additional personal supports for those citizens seeking asylum.
“Difficulties in the Direct Provision system are compounded by the current housing emergency and this must also be addressed by the Government.
“Asylum seekers come to us from all across the world. They come from war torn societies or States where their lives are at risk. They come in search of a new life in the same way that Irish people have travelled over the centuries throughout the world. They arrived in this State only to be treated in a most deplorable way. That needs to end.”