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Programme for Govt u-turn on direct provision, a betrayal of the most vulnerable

11 May 2016

Statement by Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin
Spokesperson on Education and Skills, Gaeilge and the Gaeltacht

The deliberate removal from the Programme for Government, of any commitment to implement the recommendations of the McMahon report on Direct Provision is beyond disappointing. It is in fact a betrayal of the thousands of people who have found themselves languishing in Direct Provision Centres all around the country.

In Government Labour oversaw the publication of a report by Judge Bryan McMahon into our Direct Provision System.

This report included 176 recommendations many of which, thanks to us, are already being implemented. These include the waiving of prescription charges for those living in direct provision and increasing the rate allowance paid to children living in these centres.

I believe that the recommendations of the McMahon report should be implemented in full so that those seeking asylum are treated with dignity and respect while they await the outcome of their application.

The removal of this commitment from today’s Programme for Government is a retrograde and regrettable step.

The draft Programme for Government published last week did include a commitment to implement the McMahon report, but it has somehow disappeared entirely in the interim and there is no reference to it whatsoever in today’s version.

I simply cannot understand how Ministers like Katherine Zappone, Finian McGrath and John Halligan who describe themselves as progressive, compassionate and left-wing, could have brought themselves to support this.