Tag Archives: Direct Provision

Tomorrow at 8pm.

At the Belltable at 69 O’Connell Street, Limerick.

There will be a reading of the play Displace by Katie O’Reilly.

Belltable writes:

A cyclical history of Ireland’s dark secrets. Spanning generations, Displace delves into the underworld of Irish institutionalisation. From the Magdalene Laundry to Direct Provision, we are brought with Molly and Fidda as they navigate through the labrynth of bureaucracy, violence and isolation and ask – how far have we come?

Following on from the work-in-progress last June, we are delighted to present a rehearsed reading of the final script of Displace, developed as part of Katie O’Kelly’s residency at Belltable, supported by Limerick Arts Office.

This reading will mark International Human Rights Week, and will be followed by a short post show discussion.

Tickets, for €8, can be bought here

Life On The Outside

A radio documentary by Bairbre Flood looking at the lives of  three women who have survived Direct Provision.

Bairbre writes:

For my latest documentary I talked to three women; Elsie Nwaora, Nomaxabiso Maye and Florence Eriamantoe who lived for years in Direct Provision.

This was the system set up almost 20 years ago to provide accomodation and meals to asylum seekers while their claim is being processed. Intended to be a short-term solution, it seems to have created even more long-term problems.

The lack of access to cooking facilities, the overcrowding (Florence lived in one room with her family for more than six years), the lack of privacy and the strain this puts on family dynamics are all obvious: but perhaps what’s less tangible is the subtle loss of dignity and self-direction that Direct Provision incurs. ‘You have no autonomy’ as Nomaxabiso puts it. Everything is done for you. Who wants to live like that?

Most Direct Provision centres are situated in isolated areas, and Noma recalls how the place she was sent to, Drishane Castle, County Cork was ‘spooky’.

Noma says:

‘It’s a very old castle. It looks beautiful from the outside. It’s very hidden away from the local community – you know, that separateness of people: that this is the local community and these are asylum seekers.’

They’d almost no contact with the locals there. ‘It was very rare you’d see people interacting with Drishane residents.’ Noma said.

I put it to Noma that it’s hard for Irish people to get to know people in Direct Provision as we usually meet people through work and college, and she agrees that ‘this is where the trick is.’

She adds:

‘If you allow people to participate in those things (college, work,) then you allow people to get to know each other. I met a lot of friends through college – had I been in Direct Provision sitting there, there’s no way I’d have.’

Florence and Elsie also described how isolated they felt from the wider community and Elsie noted,

Florence says:

‘The way it is, people didn’t know…that place there is the hostel, the Direct Provision centre; people didn’t know about it.”

This physical isolation isn’t helped by the fact that none of the women were allowed work during their time in Direct Provision. (Although there is a limited possibility for this now following a Supreme Court decision earlier this year, none of the women would have qualified as their cases were under appeal.)

‘You weren’t able to do anything’, Florence said. Boredom and anxiety wear away at the body and mind and the effect on the physical and mental health of people in Direct Provision can be devastating.

Noma says:

‘I won’t lie, I went through this myself and I didn’t see it happening, it was just the little things. I don’t have sleep, no appetite, this and that…and this is what the government is failing to understand because it’s costing the state more to keep people in that way.’

‘I started blaming myself and feeling like a failure, ending up in a place like that.’

Nomaxabiso managed to get on a course, however she says:

‘Somebody else did not have that opportunity that I had and people just fell into depression. They fell deep into depression. I could tell you horrible, horrible stories and people with young children, most of them would lose their children to social services…they couldn’t look after their children because they were depressed.’

Nomaxabiso is just graduating from her degree in social work this year and says that she would like to work with migrants because she understands where people come from, ‘people come with various challenges from various backgrounds.’

Florence too is studying social work in UCC, and both women hope to bring their experiences to help families in the future.

One of the most distressing parts of being an asylum seeker is the threat of deportation which hangs over you. All three women spoke about deportation being the worst aspect of their lives.

Florence described how immigration officials would come in the middle of the night to take people away.

She recalls:

‘They would have their cars and staff members surrounding the buildings…There was this woman we had to hide in the wardrobe with her kids. I’ve never seen anything like that. Those kids were the kind of kids that are very active, but for the first time in my life I saw kids that were quiet. That’s when it dawned on me that the kids knew everything that was happening. It was horrible.’

Florence’s husband was deported, but she was allowed stay while her children’s case was being heard through the courts.

Florence says:

‘I know ten to fifteen women, their husbands were deported and their family has been destroyed.’

All three women spent years trying to rebuild their lives after getting their papers and moving into the wider community. The sudden switch from years of institutional living isn’t easy.

Elsiedescribes how her daughter was six years old when they finally got their papers. Having never lived anywhere other than the Hostel, her daughter couldn’t get used to a house away from the friends she’d grown up living with

: ‘She’d always say, ‘Mum, I don’t want to stay here, let’s go back to the Hostel…maybe if she didn’t spend six years in the Hostel and she just grew up in the house she will just see that is normal.’

Largely hidden away from Irish society, people in Direct Provision rarely have their voices heard, and there’s much we can learn from these women’s experiences.

Bairbre Flood: Life On The Outside (Soundcloud)

Pic: 255 Photography

Caiseal Mara Hotel in Moville, Co Donegal

This Sunday.

At the Methodist Hall on the Main Street of Moville, Co Donegal.

At 3pm.

Fáilte Inishowen will be hosting a public information meeting about the arrival of asylum seekers to Caiseal Mara Hotel in Moville.

Tracey Cullen Sheehan, of Fáilte Inishowen, writes:

“Fáilte Inishowen is pleased to announce the first event in its campaign to ensure that all of the asylum seekers arriving in the coming weeks are warmly welcomed and strongly supported in settling in to this vibrant community by the sea.

“All are welcome to attend, and representatives from health, education and social agencies in the area will be in attendance to offer their perspectives and to take questions from the floor.

“Invited speakers who have come through the discredited system of Direct Provision will focus on how best local people might show solidarity and friendship to those who are arriving.

Vukasin Nedeljkovic is an artist and researcher from Serbia whose excellent multidisciplinary project, Asylum Archive, documents his own experience of Direct Provision.

“Having sought asylum in Ireland in 2007, Vukasin was put into the Direct Provision system and, faced with the stress of life waiting to for his asylum application to be processed, began his excellent project ‘as a coping mechanism’.

“Vukasin’s recently-published Asylum Archive book tells a story of weight and importance that too few people have heard about — we will be petitioning Donegal County Library to include a copy in every branch.

“South African activist Lucky Khambule [him off the telly!] has called Ireland home for the last five years.

“He lived in Direct Provision for three years and this experience drove him to co-found MASI, the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland — in pursuit of justice, dignity, social equality and the right to work for people seeking asylum as they had been banned from doing so since Direct Provision was enacted.

Caroline Radcliffe from Moville is experienced in the field of human rights and will speak of her time working with asylum seekers in the hostel that existed in the early 2000s in Moville.”

Fáilte Inishowen (Facebook)

Victoria Chihumura and her mother Blessing Moyo on RTÉ’s Late Late Show

Last Friday night.

Taken Down actress Blessing Moyo and her daughter Victoria Chihumura appeared on the Late Late Show during a 14-minute segment.

Blessing explained that, with the help of people smugglers, she left Zimbabwe after the election in 2008, without her children, and found herself in South Africa and then Ireland.

She lived in Direct Provision for seven and a half years.

Blessing’s two sons and daughter Victoria joined her in Ireland three years after Blessing left Zimbabwe and then the four of them lived in a room in Direct Provision for the next four and a half years.

Victoria is now studying Arts, Economics and Politics in the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) and she’s the ethnic minority officer at the college’s student union.

During the interview, they had the following exchange:

Ryan Tubridy: “Tell me about peculiar cars that would show up outside the Direct Provision centre.

Victoria Chihumura:I was about 15/16, walking from the centre into town, cause it’s only like a 20-minute walk. And this car was following me throughout, the whole way, harassing me, just saying ‘Oh, won’t you come here, I’ll give you €20 to do, like, sexual, disgusting stuff.

“I remember I tried to report it to the guards. I went up and I had the number plate number and I went up and they were like ‘There’s nothing we can do because you’re under 18’ – something like that.

“And when I was going back home, I was like ‘what if it turned out and actually ended really badly for me’ – would they have done something for me after that? Yeah. It’s traumatising.”

Ryan Tubridy: “Of course. And is this a common occurrence? That cars show up outside the direct provision centre, Blessing?”

Blessing: “Oh yeah.”

Tubridy: “Can you talk to me about that a little bit?”

Blessing: “Yeah, like, especially, my experience is, it’s a daily thing.”

Tubridy: “Is it?”

Blessing: “And like my worst experience was this guy who was like just standing there, calling women. And what was most disgusting about that is that it showed that this was a family man because this was a man who had a car with a baby seat at the back. So that meant it was a family man.”

Tubridy: “Looking for women from the Direct Provision centre?”

Blessing: “Exactly, and offering €20 for sex. And for me, it was very degrading for me…as an African woman, I’m not an object, I’m a person.”

Watch back in full here

Previously: “We Do It Out Of Desperation”

The Immigrant Council of Ireland tweetz:

This week the abhorrent language & experiences of racism have again made the headlines. But hear this: a family just called us as they want to invite a family living in direct provision to share Christmas in their home – sharing culture a great way to #EndRacism #FridayFeeling

Immigrant Council of Ireland

Ruairí McKiernan tweetz:

Cherish the children?

Last night in Direct Provision…

A testimony from Knockalisheen centre on outskirts of Limerick. Similar happening all over Ireland. This must end.

Donnah Sibanda Vuma (Facebook)

Ghosted Dog Zombie tweetz:

Something I’ve been working on for GARN. Imagine the formative years of your childhood living in the hell of #DirectProvision, an ill-conceived, “temporary” system that’s been allowed to continue for almost 20 years.

Previously: The Children Of Direct Provision (2015)

Direct Provision on Broadsheet

Next Friday.

At the Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, at 6pm.

Visual artist and researcher Vukašin Nedeljković will launch his book titled Asylum Archive – the same name as his Twitter handle from which he has documented the conditions of living in Direct Provision for six years.

Vukašin, from Serbia, sought asylum in Ireland in 2007, and has been granted ‘leave to remain’ in Ireland.

Asylum Archive

Related: Asylum Archive: An Archive of Asylum and Direct Provision in Ireland

Previously: Postcards from Direct Provision

Inside The Asylum

And living in Limerick?

Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) are holding a fundraising night of music, dance and poetry in Dolans Warehouse in Limerick.

Tickets are €10 for general admission and €5 for residents of direct provision. They can be bought at the door or here.

Sounds Of Change Fundraiser For MASI – Movement Of Asylum Seekers In Ireland (Dolans)

MASI (Facebook)

Every Child Is Your Child writes:

“As we know, students living in Direct Provision are under-resourced, these are kids whose families struggle to provide even the most basic of needs. Join us as we serve our community by providing backpacks and school supplies to students in need.

“Purchase a backpack/and or the supplies (even a gift card) listed on the poster above and drop it off at one of our drop-off points by the 22nd of August. Thanking you in advance for your continued support!

Every Child Is Your Child