You may recall a post from yesterday which included excerpts from a blog by Joan O’Connell in relation to local election candidates being prohibited from canvassing at Ireland’s direct provisions centres, which are home to approximately 4,360 asylum seekers. This is despite adult asylum seekers being allowed to vote in the local elections.
The post included a picture of a July 2008 letter from Noel Dowling, of the Reception and Integration Agency, which is responsible for the care of asylum seekers. It claimed the RIA had been made aware that certain party literature was being sent to managers of certain direct provision centres with requests that the material be given to residents. Mr Dowling’s circular basically stated that political party leaflets and posters were prohibited from being on display or being circulated in direct provision centres.
UCD law lecturer Dr Liam Thornton has written an update on the matter this morning on the Human Rights In Ireland blog.
On April 23, Noel Dowling of the Reception and Integration Agency issued Circular 1/14 to all direct provision centre managers [see here: RIA Circular 1-14 of 23 April 2014] noting that there can be no display or distribution of party political leaflets, posters or circulars to residents. This did not prevent addressed literature from being delivered to residents.
On May 14 2014, Noel Dowling of the Reception and Integration Agency issued Circular 2/14 to all direct provision centre managers. This circular varies Circular 1/14 of April 2014 in one important respect:
Candidates who call into centres may be allowed to drop off election leaflets to be picked up and read by residents if they wish. This material may be left in a suitable designated area of the centre such as the reception desk. Candidates may, if they wish, place on their leaflets their contact details or details of political meetings outside the centre to which residents can be invited.
That’s good of them.