Asylum campaigner, John Grayson has written an insightful article on the Direct Provision (DP) system for asylum seekers in Ireland. The DP system commenced in April 2000, offering asylum seekers bed and board accommodation, and an allowance of €19.10 a week per adult, with an additional €9.60 a week per child. The system of DP also provides health care through the medical card scheme, and education up to the age of 18 for children of asylum seekers. Asylum seekers are not entitled to any other form of welfare payment and they are not allowed to work. If they decide not to stay in the centres they become destitute and homeless. The article looks at how the DP system effectively keeps asylum-seekers outside of mainstream society and prevents them from integrating into communities. Reports over the last few years also spoke of ‘inhumane’ conditions within DP centres, with overcrowding and inadequate support and services – conditions which some are forced to endure for years on end as they wait for a response to their asylum applications.
However, recent developments highlighted in the article offer some hope that there could be ‘cracks in the Irish deterrent asylum system’. On 30 May, the Irish Supreme Court ruled that banning asylum seekers from working was unconstitutional. Then on 14 June, Ireland’s Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Leo Varadkar, announced an increase of €2.50 per week for adults and €6 per week for children to benefit more than 4,000 adults and children living in Ireland’s accommodation for asylum seekers, the Direct Provision (DP) centres.
See also the article on “Key groups pull together to promote Right to Work for asylum seekers in Ireland“, a conference organised by City of Sanctuary Dublin in association with the Irish Refugee Council and The Immigrant Council of Ireland.