Children protest at the Kinsale Road Direct Provision Centre in Cork in September 2014
Journalist Brian O’Connell told RTÉ Radio One’s Today With Seán O’Rourke this morning that, following discussions he has had with asylum seekers, he believes fresh protests may be organised in direct provision centres across Ireland as the country starts to welcome 4,000 Syrian refugees.
It follows the publication of the Report of the Working Group on the Protection Process including Direct Provision in June – which contained 170 recommendations – many of which have yet to be implemented.
Mr O’Connell spoke with Fiona Finn, CEO of immigrant support centre NASC for the show.
During their discussion, Ms Finn agreed with Mr O’Connell’s assertion that as the 4,000 refugees arrive, tensions are likely to rise in the Direct Provision centres.
Ms Finn said:
“What we’ve actually found over the last number of weeks is that there’s an awful lot of anger and disquiet in the centres because the residents in the centres feel that nothing has been done since the publication of the [working group] report. And I think they feel very much kind of forgotten about and they feel very much left behind. And this is coming to kind of sharp focus now with the announcement that we’re going to bring 4,000 new refugees and asylum seekers in the State. And our fear is the fear that’s echoed by the residents in the centres is that a sort of two-tier system is going to emerge. So what you’re going to have is the deserving and the undeserving refugee.”
“We are getting a very clear sense of that [asylum seekers mobilising for protest]. I think the people in Direct Provision feel that they were given a glimmer of hope when the working group was established and when the recommendations came out. The hope that they had, that things would be changed, has now been extinguished.”
“We’re very disappointed that action hasn’t happened sooner [on foot of the working group report]. I think we trusted the process, as did everybody else around the table and it was our understanding that the implementation of the recommendations of the working group would happen in a very short period, post its publication, but that does not seem to be the case at the moment.”
“I think the people who are living in the centres do feel that they’ve been left behind, they’ve been forgotten about and I think whilst I think our commitment to bringing in 4,000 new refugees and asylum seekers is very, very positive and is a very good start, it can not be the reason for us not to discharge our human rights obligations and duties to those who are already waiting in our current system.”
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