“Sadly, we were recently informed that our dear friend Sylva was buried by the State at the beginning of May. Members of our community and, especially those close to Sylva, were devastated to hear of her burial with no-one close to her present” https://t.co/D65P48vDr6 pic.twitter.com/l9B7BL63mD
— Teach Solais (@TeachSolaisLGBT) June 4, 2019
Last year, on August 2, asylum seeker Sylva Tukula, who was living in the Direct Provision system in Galway city, died.
Due to Sylva’s status, the Department of Justice and Equality was ‘obligated to investigate the circumstances of her death, to liaise with friends and fellow residents of the Direct Provision centre where she lived, and to make culturally-appropriate burial arrangements’.
Via Teach Solais, an LGBT resource centre in Galway City:
Close friends and colleagues of Sylva were assured by both national and local State representatives that we would be notified once arrangements were made.
Sadly, we were recently informed that our dear friend was buried by the State at the beginning of May.
Members of our community and, especially those close to Sylva, were devastated to hear of her burial with no one close to her present.
We had the understanding that we would be made aware of the funeral arrangements in advance so that our community, Sylva’s Galway family, could be a part of this service, and to ensure that her life was celebrated on the day of her burial.
We continually checked with Government representatives for updates, while receiving no new information regarding any arrangements.
The fact that Sylva’s burial occurred in the absence of a ceremony, and without attendance, is deeply offensive to everyone close to Sylva, particularly members of the LGBT+ community who lived in the Great Western, who knew her from the Eglinton Direct Provision centresin Galway City and those that met her throughout her life in Galway.
This abhorrent news has left many in shock, with those in the direct provision sites feeling that they will be buried alone thousands of miles away from people they grew up with by the Irish State.
We are left with more questions than answers as to how this has been allowed to occur.
Our dear friend Sylva was failed by the system in which she was entrapped, in many ways; yet at all times she bore these failings with grace, with dignity and with a warm smile.
We strongly request this matter be investigated both to the fullest possible extent and in a timely manner, to establish how this system failed our friend Sylva this last, final time.
In her honour we must ensure that this tragic outcome does not occur again, to anyone.