Two hundred and thirty one phone cards belonging to an adult asylum seeker from West Africa. At the time the photograph was taken, the asylee had been waiting six years for their case to be dealt with. Every week, the asylee used half their €19.10 weekly stipend from the State to phone home

You may recall RTÉ’s Brian O’Connell’s reports on Today With Sean O’Rourke last week about how some asylee women – who are not allowed work – are engaging in prostitution to supplement the €19.10 they receive a week.

In some instances, some mothers said they are engaging in prostitution as a means to make life financially easier for their children.

After his reports, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said she would be asking the Reception and Integration Agency – which oversees the Direct Provision system – for a report on the matter.

Further to this, Mr O’Connell tweeted:

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 01.54.51


Previously: ‘He Took Me Around Some Bushes’

“I Will Certainly Be Looking For A Report”

Pic: Rory O’Neill, via Asylum Archive

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28 thoughts on “No Comment

  1. Eamonn Clancy

    Bullsh*t. No one, not even the drunkest Paddy, in a back lane in Kilburn, would spend 50% of their money calling home.

    1. deliverancecountry

      I think that communication problems may have led to substance abuse.
      We’ve learnt a lot haven’t we?

    2. Odis

      @ Eamonn, In fairness, I can buy that claim. If I was unemployed, and living in a hut on the outskirts of Athlone, I might be tempted to spend a tenner on foreign phone cards.
      It sounds a lot more probable, to me, than say buying some bananas and Pink Lady apples for €5.60, from Tesco.

      1. Anne

        Tell us what other purchases might be ok.. Go on, I’m waiting on bated breath.
        Any special offers on bananas anywhere this week? Anywhere at all..

          1. Anne

            It looked like a simple question to me.
            What other purchases would he approve of?

            Anyway, bananas – ok, phone cards – ok.
            Tesco apples, not savvy at all.

            I think he may have jumped the gun on the phone cards though.
            He doesn’t seem to have ascertained how much the rate per minute was.
            He could have gotten more minutes for his 10 euro elsewhere..

  2. Llareggub

    I watched that documentary on the Dochas Centre in Mountjoy last night (may as well get some value for my TV licence). It cost €65k to keep a drug-smuggling Bolivian woman there for a year. The conditions seemed surprisingly good – way better than this asylum seekers are subjected to it would appear.

    1. Odis

      That would almost have to be the case, I think I read somewhere that it costs the state something like 12K per annum for an asylum seeker.

        1. Odis

          Well yes and no.
          12K really isn’t feck all at the end of the day, well not to me.
          Jobseekers is just under 10K for instance.
          But then €19.60 a week could by most reasonable standards be referred to as feck all.
          12K is over 5 times less than what it costs to keep the Bolivian lady in the Dolchas centre.

  3. zackersetu

    I worked many years with asylum seekers (pro applicant), and yes Direct Provision was always meant to be a temporary measure, and in many instances is simply awful. The man in the picture, however (or at least represented by the picture) is one of 2 things

    1) Not an asylum seeker. At 6 years he is awaiting a decision on section 3 (humanitarian leave to remain or Subsidiary protection). If this is the case , his claim for asylum has been denied. He is not an asylum seeker and is asking the State to let him remain on Humanitarian grounds. (Subsidiary protection is associated with asylum but is not asylum).

    2) Is judicially reviewing his asylum application. In this case he is still not technically an asylum seeker. His claim has been decided and he is asking for the decision to be overturned (at great cost to the State … and to himself (or legal aid , or his legal team if pro-bono)). From my own experiences, a large number of JRs are based on procedural issues, or just god awfully drafted decisions of the tribunal members of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. What is important to remember that in the majority of cases I have seen, the underlying reasoning for denial may be quite sound, and the person, after being dragged through a lengthy JR, will be placed back into the asylum system, just to have their claim denied again for the same reasons, just better worded and without a procedural error.

    Let us not forget, and again I preface by saying I worked pro applicant for many years, that many ‘asylum seekers’ are economic immigrants, who are clogging an inept system. There are many truly worthy cases, people who deserve protection of the State, and have endured horrors and hardship; however, due to the numbers of falsified claims, find themselves swallowed up in the morass. I saw a good few cases which clearly displayed a believable and well-founded fear of persecution inevitably end in failure, because those running the system are jaded. In those cases, I almost used to welcome the delay in the decision, as ironically the fact that their Leave to Remain claims have taken 6 years, may be a blessing, as the State’s responsibility for those person increases with each passing day.

    I’m surprised by those I see advocating the closure of direct provision, people I have worked with, and people I know, conveniently forgetting this truth, because it is a much more difficult thing to separate the asylum seeker, from the person who has no fear of return, except for reasons of economics. (You may call me cruel, but what of it , the asylum system is not the proper route for any person not fleeing for fear of persecution) . Best gloss over this inconsistency for the greater good eh?

    So at the end of a long comment. Direct provision is bad … no denying that … but let’s look to why there are so many people waiting. Treating people with genuine claims for asylum in such an awful manner is completely unacceptable. But let’s not just gloss over the fact that a large reason for this is the fact that the system is crippled with a large large number of people merely trying to circumvent immigration laws. Many of those people carrying placards, and shouting for a better system knew what they were doing, have lied to get there and continue to do so. There is a true fight against the Direct Provision system, and there are huge human rights issues ….. but lets not kid ourselves that there are many in that crowd which have simply chosen it, warts and all.

    1. Spartacus

      Sue Conlan, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council doesn’t appear to agree with you. Speaking at a public meeting in the Doras Luimni offices last week, she very clearly called for an end to Direct Provision.

      “Sue has been the CEO of the Irish Refugee Council since February 2010. Before taking up the post of CEO she spent 17 years in legal practice in the UK specialising in in immigration and asylum law and was recognised in the UK as a leading lawyer in immigration and asylum (Chambers Guide to the UK Legal Profession). In addition to legal practice, she has also worked in NGOs in both the fields of anti-racism and immigration and as a trainer and consultant, including for Oxford University’s Centre on Migration, Policy and Society and the Open University.”

  4. zackersetu

    erm…. awkward .. clearly that last line should have been!!

    but lets not kid ourselves, there are many in that crowd which have simply chosen it, warts and all.

    (damn emotion getting in the way of proof-reading)

  5. Caroline

    If this photograph is Rory O’Neill’s, the man who owns those calling cards was granted refugee status after six years in the system.

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