News & Media

Transformation of Direct Provision not enough

7 June 2020

Statement by Senator Annie Hoey
Spokesperson on Higher Education, Innovation and Research

Responding to the comments today of the Minister for Justice, Labour Senator Annie Hoey said transformation of Direct Provision is not enough and that legislators must act to translate the anger over racism and direct provision in Ireland into concrete action, and take on board the reforms that groups have called for over many years.

Senator Hoey said:

“Now is the time for aspirations to be transformed into laws and policy changes after the immense reaction to the death of George Floyd that has focused attention on racism in Ireland and the long-standing failure to change our system of Direct Provision.

“The Minister for Justice today has said there will be transformation of the Direct Provision system but until we see action those are just words.

“For years many groups have worked on highlighting and lobbying what needs to be done- I think it is important that we see and recognise their work and use our positions as legislators to raise these issues up. Concrete action is needed now.

“We want a commitment from the next Government that they will tackle the issue of systematic racism here in Ireland today.

“The Labour Party wants an end to the current system of Direct Provision. We need a more humane and dignity-centred system for persons seeking international protection. A new system will require time to implement, but needs the political will for change.

"However, the following five actions that can be taken in the immediate term and would make a substantial start to the reforms we need to:
1. Extend SUSI grants to those living in Direct Provision
2. Regularisation of undocumented migrants
3. Passing of the Traveller Culture and History in Education Bill
4. Legislate for citizenship for children born here
5. Extend right to work for asylum seekers by removing onerous barriers, such as allowing access to a drivers licence.

“We also need to challenge misinformed views and myths about refugees in Ireland, and now is the time when political action can have a real impact.”