“You Can Leave At Any Time”


From top: Direct Provision protest in  Dublin ciuty, 2017: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with RTÉ’s Dr Gavin Jennings in east Cork this morning

This morning.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar gave a 16-minute interview to RTE’s Morning Ireland from Fine Gael’s ‘think-in’ at Garryvoe Hotel in east Cork.

During the interview, Mr Varadkar spoke about Brexit, protecting the Single Market, the Good Friday Agreement, potential border checks between the Republic of Ireland and the North.

Plus why he thinks Fine Gael will do well in the next general election – despite more than 10,000 people homeless, nearly one million people on hospital waiting lists and potential plans to reintroduce a border.

At the end of their discussion, journalist Dr Gavin Jennings raised comments made by Independent TD Noel Grealish at a meeting in Oughterard, Co Galway on Wednesday evening.

A video of Mr Grealish’s comments can be watched below:

Dr Jennings asked Mr Varadkar if he’s “comfortable” accepting support in the Dáil from the Independent TD.

Mr Varadkar said:

“I didn’t hear his comments and I understand there’s no audio recording of his comments but, if that’s what he said, I think he should withdraw those remarks and, at the very least, make a statement on it and clarify them.

“Bear in mind, what we’re talking about here are refugees. They are people who are, in many cases, fleeing war and fleeing persecution and it’s the right thing I think that we, as a country, should take people in.

“We would want someone to take us in if we were in a similar situation.”

Dr Jennings put to Mr Varadkar that the Direct Provision system is now 20 years old [a system which was set up as a temporary measure in 1999 without legislation].

He then asked Mr Varadkar if it’s time to end Direct Provision.

The Taoiseach said:

“I often hear people say that but, end it and replace it with what? You know, we’re not in a position to give a house or an apartment to every asylum seeker. We’re just not in a position to do that and it’s also important to bear in mind what Direct Provision is.

“You know, Direct Provision is something that we offer asylum seekers, it’s not compulsory. You can leave at any time. We now allow asylum seekers to work so actually many do work and leave and provide for their own accommodation. Many also live with fiends and families.

“So Direct Provision is something that we offer people. It’s accommodation, it’s food and board, it’s spending money as well. It’s not that it’s compulsory.”

Listen back in full here

Varadkar calls on Grealish to withdraw remarks on asylum seekers (RTE)


Poster for an installation at the Little Museum of Dublin from September 29 to October 5

You Can Leave At Any Time (Dublin Theatre Festival)

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12 thoughts on ““You Can Leave At Any Time”

  1. john f

    I have heard a lot about the observations of deputy Noel Grealish in the recent days.
    As the article states, there is no direct audio recordings, only hearsay. No one knows apart from those that were in the immediate vicinity what the context and meaning of the remarks were.
    The man is entitled to free speech the same as the rest of us. And like it or not those views are held by many and hold true in most cases.
    In my mind, the real crux of the issue is the lack of consultation and public discussion before work starts on any proposed new asylum centres. It’s little wonder that people and communities have concerns.

    Here it is straight from the horses mouth.


    1. Ciuncainteach

      The man is entitled to have his views, same as we are entitled to criticise him for expressing these views – particularly considering his role as a public representative. These views are unfortunately held by many, but you have not demonstrated that those views ‘hold true in most cases’.

      There is a legitimate discussion to be had about the efficacy of setting up a direct provision centre so far from the support services that the asylum applicants will need. Consultation with the local community would also be in accordance with best practice. Concerns over those specific matters are understandable.

  2. some old queen

    A few questions-

    is there direct provision centers in NI or are they housed in the community?

    If someone attempts to live in the community in ROI, are they entitled to any benefits?

    1. SEFFY

      I don’t know enough to answer your 1st question but on the second,

      Asylum seekers would be entitled to benefits which would be accrued through their payment of tax through work. They would not automatically able to go benefits not based on payment of tax. I believe they would like everybody else be eligible for child benefit as it’s a universal payment.

      1. some old queen

        Thanks SEFFY- I just had a look at the gov.uk website- they don’t have a direct provision system it appears.

        You’ll be given somewhere to live if you need it. This could be in a flat, house, hostel or bed and breakfast.

        £37.75 for each person
        £3 for each child
        £300 maternity payment
        National Health Service (NHS) healthcare
        Free prescriptions for medicine
        Free dental care for your teeth
        Fee eyesight tests
        Help paying for glasses
        Free school meals


        1. some old queen

          Also- rent paid.

          I sometimes wonder why people claim deliberate asylum in ROI as opposed to UK.

          Maybe it is because they want to stand on their own two feet and pay their way? Half of NYC was built by the Irish after all- maybe some are gay???

          Perhaps some just followed the herd although at this point, how they got here is a mystery but — @RTE why do we not ask them?

          There is no back and white answers but if a local community want to organise a meeting then let them do so- on their own- without paid pop ups from either side.

          It is cheap and it is nasty- and it is VERY disingenuous.

      1. some old queen

        I said benefits not social welfare george and according to SEFFY above- the answer is yes- “child benefit as it’s a universal payment”.

        1. shayna

          I got involved in a discussion/argument about Direct Provision with fellow travellers in Lagos, I tried to explain to people from Brazil, Germany, Nigeria Switzerland about DP – there was a mention of Stalin and Gulags. I brought up Stalin and the Gulags. People come here fleeing from horrible regimes in their home countries, they legally aren’t allowed to work, many are academics, doctors and nurses and they sit in an hotel room in Ballygobackwards, to borrow a phrase from Bob Geldolf “Is this it?”

  3. Rob_G

    Dr O’Rourke’s comparison is a little facile; women in the Magdalene laundries couldn’t come and go as they pleased to go to school or university, or to visit friends or to work for Deliveroo.

  4. Truth in the News

    How many of those who claim refugee status over the years are refugees and how
    many are economic migrants, indeed one might ask how are some those who
    come here as migrants from non EU states getting visas, as to Noel Grealish
    the D4 types in RTE have got upset about what he said at a Public Meeting, has
    he not the right to an opinion, or does his opinion have to coincide with group
    think in certain sections of the Dublin Media

  5. delacaravanio

    You repeatedly refer to Gavin Jennings as Dr Jennings, yet the Taoiseach, also a doctor, is just plain old Mr Varadkar. Consistency?

Comments are closed.

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