News & Media

Bacik Welcomes Publication of Day Report on Direct Provision

21 October 2020

Statement by Senator Ivana Bacik
Seanad Group Leader and Spokesperson on Children, Disability, Equality and Integration

Reacting to the publication of a report on Direct Provision, compiled by an Expert Group chaired by Dr. Catherine Day, Labour Seanad Group Leader and spokesperson for Children, Disability, Equality & Integration Ivana Bacik said,

“I am really glad to see this report published today and commend Dr. Day for her work, as well as Doras, the Children’s Rights Alliance, Nasc and the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland, among other civil society groups, who I know contributed to its compilation. The report sets out a number of sensible new measures, including a five-year amnesty for asylum seekers who have been in Ireland longer than two years.

“There will be a monetary cost to ending Direct Provision but it is a necessary cost to guarantee the safety and wellbeing of asylum seekers in Ireland. Moreover, enormous sums of public money are currently being handed over to private contractors to house asylum seekers. I know that it is thought that more than €1 billion has been spent on private providers since Direct Provision was established 20 years ago. The report notes that the model proposed by Dr. Day would have cost €35.9 million less than what was spent on Direct Provision in 2019. The case for reform is clear.

“In particular, I welcome the recommendation to speed up the processing of applications; it is unfair on those awaiting a decision to not know exactly how long they will be in limbo. Severe mental health difficulties have been associated with the long wait times currently imposed on people. A guarantee of improved worker’s rights for asylum seekers is also to be welcomed, in addition to an automatic vulnerability assessment for al asylum seekers entering the country, within 30 days of arrival.

“In recent times, I have been calling for the introduction of a robust inspection process in advance of the rollout of National Standards in 2021 – it is heartening to see the report recommend that this is conducted by HIQA, as opposed to a private contractor.

“Labour has been campaigning for the progressive abolition of Direct Provision to be replaced by accommodation using approved housing bodies and with additional workers’ rights and integration into local communities.

“Minister O’Gorman has set a target to publish a White Paper by end of 2020, which will set out a plan for bringing the dysfunctional system of Direct Provision to an end. The introduction of binding targets and deadlines from 2023 will help to focus the minds of politicians and those working in the Departments of Justice and Children, Disability, Equality & Integration. I will examine the detail of the more than 200-page report with my Labour colleagues in the coming days. We will work collaboratively in opposition to see an end to Direct Provision and will be active in holding the Government to account in meeting the targets set out in today’s report.”

ENDS

 Report here: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/b3550-report-of-the-advisory-group-on-the-provision-of-support-including-accommodation-to-persons-in-the-international-protection-process-september-2020/