Tag Archives: Direct Provision

From top: Lunch served at a Direct Provision centre in Monaghan in 2020 prepared by Aramark

This afternoon.

Via RTÉ News:

Catering group Aramark has been given the contract for providing meals for refugees from Ukraine without going through the regular procurement process.

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman said the Government had to move quickly and added “we have not be able to use the traditional procurement processes”.

We have had to move quickly, that is why 16,000 are being fed,” he said.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said: “Aramark, you will know, have been a very controversial company criticised for the poor quality of their catering in US prisons, for the poor quality of some of the catering they provide for the people in Direct Provision.”

Aramark awarded contract for refugee centres (RTE)

Previously: Meanwhile, In Limerick

Hannah Komdwe, then aged 2, outside Leinster House was among asylum seekers calling for an end to Direct Provision in 2014

This morning.

A white paper published earlier by the Government outlines plans to replace the Direct Provision system with an ‘international protection system’ and close all existing Direct Provision centres by the end of 2024.

Via RTÉ News:

Phase one is expected to take four months. In this phase, accommodation will be provided in reception and integration centres, which will be in State ownership and operated by not-for-profit organisations.

….applicants will be offered accommodation through a number of strands in phase two.

The plan says after their first four months in Ireland, people whose protection claims are still being processed will move to accommodation in the community.

It says this will be own-door or own-room accommodation, for which they will pay a means-tested rent.

…Single people will be housed in either own-door or own-room accommodation.


…Applicants will be entitled to seek paid work after six months….They will be able to apply to open a bank account and will be provided with information on how to do this. They will also be able to apply for Irish drivers’ licences at this stage.


Govt to replace Direct Provision with international protection system (RTÉ)


This morning.

Direct Provision, a ‘temporary measure’ introduced in 2000 to process asylum seekers, may be replaced.

Via The Irish Times:

A “groundbreaking” accommodation scheme and asylum process forecast to cost millions less than the current direct provision system has been proposed to replace it by a Government expert group, The Irish Times has learned.

It’s understood the proposed model will cost €35.9 million less than what direct provision cost in 2019.

It proposes that first instance decisions on asylum applications be made within six months, as is required under the European Communities recast Reception Conditions Directive, which Ireland opted into in July 2018.

Under the new system, asylum seekers will spend up to three months in a State-owned reception centre where they undergo a vulnerability assessment, receive legal advice and begin their application for international protection.

Applicants will then be transferred to own-door accommodation which will be overseen by local authorities through a separate housing budget

Groundbreaking’ direct provision replacement forecast to save millions (irish Times)

Pic: Masi



Yesterday: Direct Protection

Earlier: Meanwhile In Timahoe

Previously: “I’ve Seen Some Misleading Information On Social Media”

“Public Health Measures Must Apply To All”

Forced Together

No Room To Isolate

“Please Start Moving People Now”


Elizabeth Canavan , Deputy Assistant Secretary General at the Department of Taoiseach in Government Buildings

This afternoon.

Government Buildings. Dublin 2.

“As I mentioned previously COVID-19 Illness Benefit is available to any person employed and self-employed who is diagnosed with COVID-19, or who has been advised that they are a probable source of infection of COVID-19 and is self-isolating.

As of this week that will also include workers who live in Direct Provision. This will ensure that these workers can follow the relevant health advice in relation to COVID-19 with the same confidence that there are financial supports in place to assist them.

In addition with effect from this week the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is available to people living in Direct Provision centres as well as applicants for International Protection who live in the community outside the Direct Provision system.”

Deputy Assistant Secretary General at the Department of Taoiseach, Elizabeth Canavan

COVID Benefits for those in Direct Provision (Gov.ie)



Back to school!


From top: Protest outside Leinster House earlier this month calling for the end of Direct Provision; Imran Khurshid

As the new government is formed, we all have an opportunity to set forth; what matters to us, what kind of society we are and above all ask, do we treat others equally.

Ireland has a troubled history with its own identity for generations. There’s no denying that. The cultural divisions from the civil war are only now perhaps being laid to rest with this new government. The national division of families who prefer rugby over GAA (and vice versa) is potentially ending as Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil enter a coalition government.

What was once thought of as unthinkable, has now changed and ‘changed utterly’. Indeed, change has to be accepted before you can change anything else. That’s life and well… politics.

One aspect of Irish life that can and must change, is our immigration policy. It’s wasteful and at times, unjust. I’d like to address a few issues we can and should change in the near future.

Direct Provision

Across Ireland, there are approximately 47 ‘Direct Provision’ (DP) centres to house and feed over 7,000 who seek international protection within Ireland.

Adults and children within them get a state allowance of €38.80 and €29.80, respectively, a week along with medical care. As well as those in ‘DP’ there are over 1,600 in emergency accommodation. It’s expensive.

Hotels, B&Bs are all included in the bill which cost €129.4 million last year. Even then the total costs of providing legal and other state supports must be quite high on top of that.

That said, for those in need and considering the wider problems of affordable accommodation, it does have its advantages as a stop gap for those awaiting their decision. The problem is that applicants are caught within the system for years unable to progress in their lives as a result of this system.

While only recently the Supreme Court did decide that those in direct provision could work after waiting for nine months if they hadn’t received a decision on their asylum application, albeit in a highly restricted manner designed to limit employment opportunities.

One of the positive takeaways from the Covid crisis is that the former government sought recommendations from the former secretary general of the European Commission, Dr. Catherine Day.

She proposed extending the right to work, reducing the application process times, a move to alternative housing and funding models among many other potential changes. Proposals no doubt welcomed by so many caught within the system.

Sadly during the past while, most of the conversation in the media was taken up by a substandard Kerry DP centre becoming a cluster of Covid cases.

Unfortunately, the former Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar merely conceded that there was some substandard accommodation within DP centres during a recent Dáil debate about the matter.

Now, let’s change that conversation.

At the heart of it all, let’s think long term about this. Let’s ask, what do we want as a country? Do we want genuine integration and diversity within Irish society to strength it with a sense of empathy versus sowing the seeds of division and nativism?

Is it fair for the Irish Government to lobby for Irish immigration reform in the USA while millions of other nationals there would become ‘others’ in the political conversation about immigration policy?

If Ireland adopts alternatives to the current system and work proactively at integration efforts from day one, we would reduce the overall cost of the system and create opportunities for applicants to share their skills and expertise within our economy.

While the current accommodation crisis means it would be unfeasible to end DP immediately, there is a lot we could do.

For instance, compulsory language and culture classes within DP centres, the right to work from the date of application, registration with relevant authorities for employment and volunteer opportunities can and, in my opinion, should be done. In many other countries similar programmes take place and it is time we accept that we can learn from such expertise.

Work Permits

As our offices, bars, hotels and restaurants slowly reopen as we enter Phase 3 of our reopening plan, we must consider the wide variety of workers who depend on our work permit system. There are two procedures, the work permit application and the visa application on top of it, if you are so required.

A work permit begins with an application to the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) which requires a number of application documents. If they’re successful, they then apply for a work visa if so required by their nationality. A work permit alone may cost an employee a non-refundable €1,000.

Though if a work visa application from the Department of Justice and Equality gets denied: they are caught short. Often in my legal practice, assisting clients in such cases they are repeatedly informed that their employer’s reference letter is not sufficient on the basis of the quality of the paper or that the use of a Hotmail or Yahoo email account for the business are not accepted.

Not all businesses have the capacity or time to set up their own email domain and it is frankly ridiculous to have physical paper quality determine if a willing and capable worker is denied the opportunity to contribute to Ireland’s economy.

If the DBEI accepts employment and supporting documents, why can’t Justice do the same? Are there no interdepartmental guidelines on such matters?

From my experience dealing with a diverse range of clients, I believe there are none. To change it, I suggest that one department carries out the full checks and a subsequent department is not able to object to them.

This would save applicants their fee and the considerable resources used by the state in this convoluted system. Consistency and the rigours of fairness must apply to all applicants under the law.

Naturalisation applications

Naturalisation is the process of becoming an Irish citizen after fulfilling the legal criteria. Recently, there was a change to the system and applicants no longer have to wait years for their decision.

Yet in my experience, while most applicants only need few months to hear the result of their application decision, some wait years. That’s outright unfair and unjust.

Occasionally these delays result in Judicial Review proceedings, which are challenges on the delay or process that the applicant has endured. Court orders to command the Minister of the day to make decisions in these matters, happen. However, like many other aspects of Ireland’s immigration policy in practice, it is extremely costly on everyone.

Applicants have to ‘take it on the chin’ that for years their lives, will be in limbo. This has profound financial, social and mental health impacts on applicants. For most, it means their families remain divided as the onerous financial criteria on applicants stay until they become citizens.

As the world economy adapts to many international changes after the Covid crisis, we should take stock of how we accept others in Irish society with these potential changes.

After all, we are changing our government, so let’s change this too.

Imran Khurshid is a solicitor practicing in the area of immigration law. He contested the local elections for Fianna Fáil in Dublin’s north inner city in 2019.


This morning.

From 11am.

The Special Committee on Covid-19 Response will meet in the Dáil chamber.

They will discuss the Government’s response to Covid-19 in nursing homes, in the first two sessions at 11.10am and 2pm respectively, and direct provision centres, in the third session at 4.30pm.

Some 54 per cent of the 1,606 Covid-related deaths in Ireland took place in nursing homes, while there have been 13 clusters and 171 cases overall in direct provision centres. At least 25 residents of the Skellig Star Hotel in Caherciveen, Co Kerry (top) which was turned into a direct provision centre in March, have tested positive.

It’s being reported that Nursing Homes Ireland CEO Tadhg Daly will tell the committee, in his opening address, that “the dismay will live forever with us” and:

“We were exasperated. The sector required a specific plan. We knew that Covid-19 disproportionately impacts on older people. The planning and focus was almost exclusively on our acute hospitals. Multiple clusters initially emerged in our hospitals. But the numbers in nursing homes started to increase.”

According to the meeting’s schedule, those appearing before the committee include CEO of Nursing Homes Ireland Tadhg Daly, Executive Director of Sage Advocacy Mervyn Taylor, CEO of HIQA Phelim Quinn, and representatives from the HSE and the Department of Justice.

The committee meeting can be watched above or here

Meanwhile, a transcript of last week’s committee meeting can be read in full here.

Previously: Covid 19 And Older People: A Shameful Time For Change

An Uncomfortable Truth Out Of Sight

“Please Start Moving People Now”

‘Modern Problem’.

A  hard-hitting new investigative podcast hosted by Mayo-born journalist, broadcaster and writer Jane Mc Namara (above).

Modern Problem seeks to examine ‘new incarnations of old problems’.

Jane writes:

In the first two episodes (above), I cast a critical eye over Ireland’s controversial system of direct provision – now in its 20th year and currently housing over 6,000 asylum seekers and refugees…

….The podcast features testimonials from a number of people currently seeking asylum in Ireland, vox pops from the general public, as well as insights from experts such as Lucky Khambule of the Movement of Asylum Seekers in ireland (MASI) and Fiona Hurley of NASC. the Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre….

Modern Problem podcast