Tag Archives: Direct Provision

Cathal Clarke writes:

Theophilus Ndlovu, aka ‘Touché’, came to Ireland seeking asylum in July 2016 and has spent the last 3.5 years living in Direct Provision in Galway.

As a talented spoken-word and hip-hop artist, Theo has made enormous contributions to the Irish community, performing at countless cultural and charitable events across the country.

Theo is facing imminent deportation and we’re appealing to Broadsheet readers to sign the Uplift petition below requesting [Minister for Justice] Charlie Flanagan to revoke this order.

Save Theo (Uplift)

Free next Thursday week?

January 16, 2019, at 6.30pm.

In Phizzfest’s The Space, an arts and culture venue in Phibsborough, Dublin 7,

They write:

“Phizzfest The Space is delighted to present ‘Another Ithaca’: an evening of poetry, prose and conversation, which celebrates cross-cultural artistic collaboration as it considers the issue of direct provision in Ireland.

‘Another Ithaca’ comes out of Correspondences, an acclaimed anthology edited by Stephen Rea and Jessica Traynor, that pairs writers, photographers and visual artists in the direct provision system with Irish writers and artists (all proceeds to Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland).

…contributors Katie Donovan, Incaf Yalsinkaya, Jessica Traynor, Marwa Zamir, performance poet Mimmie Malaba and others to be announced will read from their work and discuss the remarkable artistic journey of cultural intersection and mentorship that led to the anthology – along with the wider issues around direct provision.”

Another Ithaca – a cross-cultural evening of literature (Facebook)

Correspondences (Stinging Fly)

Earlier: “The More People You Have In A Centre, The More Money You Can Make”

East End Hotel in Portarlington, Co Laois which is being used as a Direct Provision centre; inside a room at the centre

On Friday.

The group Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland circulated a video (top) which shows 10 beds in one room for asylum seekers living in a direct provision centre at the East End Hotel in Portarlington, Co Laois.

It was later shared by journalist Barry Whyte, of Newstalk, and Senator Catherine Ardagh called for the centre to be shut down.

The Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said he was seeking a report on the matter.

On Saturday, the Department of Justice released a statement claiming the video was “staged”.

It said:

“The Department has been informed that this video does not represent the reality at this facility. Hotel management has informed the Department that last night, a number of residents moved themselves from their assigned rooms into the room shown in the video.

“The footage circulating appears to have been staged and the residents involved have been asked to return to their allocated rooms.

“Similar claims were made about the accommodation in the hotel last Autumn and subsequent Department inspections confirmed that the accommodation arrangements at the hotel had been misrepresented in a staged video at that time.”

In response, MASI last night rejected the department’s claim.

In a statement, MASI said:

“We reject claims made by the Department of Justice and Equality and the management of East End Hotel in Portarlington that footage showing appalling conditions in the centre was staged by asylum seekers.

“At 7.21pm, on the 3rd January, 2020, MASI tweeted a video recorded by asylum seekers in the East End Hotel in Portarlington.

“The video showed 10 beds in a room that has no windows. The room also does not have a cupboard for the men to store their clothes.

“In the video, some of the their clothes can be seen on the beds and on the floor.

“About six months ago, on the 5th August 2019, MASI issued a statement after visiting several centres, where we noted how appalled we were that the East End Hotel had five people in one room.

“For this, the owner was being paid at least €5,250 per month – the average for a Direct Provision centre.

“And since this is an emergency Direct Provision centre and the average cost is more than double for emergency accommodation,the owner is likely being paid a lot more than this per month.

“We met with staff from the Department of Justice and Equaliry including the Head of RIA (Reception and Integration Agency) on the 29th August, 2019, and raised the indignity of having to live with no privacy in overcrowded rooms.

“The Department seemed to be more concerned about the number of beds they can find and not the rights of the people being moved around the country like a yoyo with no say on the matter.

“Such is the case of the men who shared the video. The 19 men had been staying in Treacy’s Hotel in Co Monaghan before being transferred to the East End Hotel in Portarlington on the 3rd January 2020. This is when they were shocked and appalled to find 10 beds in a room with no windows and cupboards to store clothes.”

The statement added:

“On the 4th January, 2020, the management in the East End Hotel went to the room and moved some of the beds into one corner, embarrassed by the video circulating online.

“The Department of Justice and Equality issued a statement which suggests that they called management in the East End Hotel who claims the conditions in the room were staged by asylum seekers.

“They also claim that different footage recorded by different asylum seekers, showing similar conditions in the East End Hotel, published by the Independent on 5th october 2019, was staged.

“Contrary to the claims of management and the statement released by the Department of Justice and Equality, staff claim that they did indeed put the 10 beds in the room because another room was not ready for occupation when the men moved in on the 3rd January 2020.

“At not point did the Department of Justice and Equality speak with the affected asylum seekers to find out what happened.”

Members of MASI Lucky Khambule and Bulelani Mfaco later travelled to the hotel in Portarlington on Saturday but they were denied entry.

They were only able to speak with some of the asylum seekers staying at the hotel outside the hotel.

The statement adds:

“Denied entry, MASI met outside the centre with some of the asylum seekers staying in the East End Hotel and were horrified by the testimony they shared with us from being threatened by management, told you can go back to your country if you are not happy, and being denied an empty glass to use to drink water.

“This showed us that the problems in the East End Hotel are beyond just a number of beds in the room but extend to the general conduct of the management team.”

“At the very heard of these overcrowded rooms in Direct Provision and emergency Direct Provision centres is profiteering through the asylum system.

“Private operators of these centres are paid public money by the Department of Justice and Equality for each person staying in the centre, not per bedroom.

“In other words, the more people you have in a centre, the more money you can make.

“In July 2018, we were told by the Department of Justice and Equality that the average cost per person in Direct Provision is €35 per day which brings it to €1,050 per person for each month.

“…on the 5th January 2020, we received texts from asylum seekers in the East End Hotel in Portarlington telling us that they have since been moved to a different room that has five people (do the maths).”

MASI has said it has written to the Ombudsman and asked for an independent investigation into the matter of overcrowding in emergency accommodation and in Direct Provision centres.

Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (Facebook)


From top: Map showing distance between Mount Trenchard and Foynes; along the N69 road between Mount Trenchard and Foynes

This morning.

Limerick migrant rights support group Doras Luimní called for the immediate closure of the Mount Trenchard direct provision Centre in Co Limerick.

It follows the publication of a 55-page report by Doras which contains research about the centre and details the experiences of some of the men who have lived and live in the centre.

Mount Trenchard is a single male direct provision centre located approximately 40km from Limerick city and 5km from Foynes village.

It was first opened in March 2005, subsequently closed in 2006 and then reopened in January 2007. It is privately managed by Baycaster Ltd.

As of November 2018 the centre had 83 residents with a capacity for 85.

From Doras’s report:

Mount Trenchard is located approximately 40km from Limerick city and approximately 5km from Foynes village, which is a 45-minute walk via a dangerous route from the centre.

The remote location of the Mount Trenchard centre was reported as the biggest challenge for all interviewed residents and impacts on residents in myriad ways, including preventing access to essential services, education and employment, as well as on residents mental health and wellbeing.

Interviewees referred to Mount Trenchard anecdotally as “an open prison” and compared it to Guantanamo Bay, due to the remoteness of the centre.

Such comparisons reflect the isolation and social exclusion experienced by residents.

“A lot of people they call it prison, they use the phrase prison. Because number one it is out of town, number 2 the location is very, very far from the route, which is the express route. Number 3 is you don’t see people around, you don’t see houses, you don’t see people, it’s just the building, where it is the male occupants. So everything that happens, happens within the hostel and inside the hostel.”

The closest amenities are located in Foynes village.

Reflecting on the trip from the centre to Foynes village, residents highlighted that it is a dangerous route with no footpath and with cars travelling at a speed of 100km per hour.

“It’s still dangerous, and last Monday actually somebody threw coffee at me. My friend actually 3 weeks ago somebody threw a diaper at him from the car. Imagine somebody had a diaper in the car, they planned it.”

In the experience of practitioners working with residents of Mount Trenchard, residents might stay in the centre for months on end without any interaction with the outside world.

They underlined that being physically removed from the wider community, with limited access to transport and being unable to walk to the nearest village, has a negative impact on residents’ well-being, including their mental health.

“It kind of comes back to the individual and their own wellbeing and where they’re at, at a given time will depend on how much they engage in something. So they could go for huge amount of time, 6 months to a year without having to interact with anything. And everybody is ok with that. That’s not healthy for lots of reasons.”

The report can be read in full here

Previously: “We Want To Be Heard By The Irish People”

‘Two Residents Were Transferred After Speaking Out’

‘Years In Isolation’

This afternoon.

Oluwaseun Ola, who lives in direct provision in Mayo, tweetz:

I don’t know who sent us these vouchers, whoever you are, thank you so much.

Are you considering doing something for someone this Christmas?  Why not donate a €20 voucher to someone in Direct Provision that will be a perfect gift.

Ballyhaunis Inclusion Project (Facebook)

Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland tweetz:

The M Hotel, former Treacys Hotel in Monaghan. In apartheid South Africa, white people and black people weren’t allowed to sit on same park bench. This is Ireland in 2019 where asylum seekers are forbidden to go into a bar, use main entrance, or sit with Irish people.


Last Friday evening…

Lucky Khambule, of MASI, on RTÉ News.

Related: Sarah McInerney: Direct provision strategy has made us withdraw our welcome for migrants (The Sunday Times)

From the Exploring Direct Provision project by UCD law lecturer Liam Thornton; at a direct provision protest; Liam Thornton

Law lecturer at University College Dublin Liam Thornton has today published 2,000-plus pages of material that he obtained under the Freedom of Information Act pertaining to direct provision.

It includes correspondence between the Department of Justice, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, the Department of Housing and the HSE, between 1997 and 2018.

It follows months of work by Mr Thornton.

In fairness.

The Direct Provision Files

Liam Thornton

Previously: Preventing Social Amnesia (2013)

This afternoon.

Ballinamore, County Leitrim.

A “continuous and peaceful demonstration” outside an apartment complex in Ballinamore where it is apparently planned to accommodate 130 asylum seekers under the Direct Provision system.

Organisers say the protest will continue until the Government “listened to the people” on the issues surrounding such centres.

Yesterday: Priest’s plea fails to stop protests over Leitrim asylum seeker centre plan

Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews

“The ideal way to meet this requirement [accommodating asylum applicants], obviously is by providing permanently-built accommodation and this is what the government plans to do.”

Fianna Fáil Minister for Justice John O’Donoghue (above), launching Direct Provision as an ’emergency measure’, March 2000.

Nineteen years later….

“What is the Government’s plan to provide further accommodation for the increasing number of people coming and seeking asylum? We have obviously had difficulties in establishing direct provision centres as we saw in Oughterard this week.

“We need to be careful. We have generally dealt well with the issue of immigration. It is apparent that some people from outside the country are opportunistically going to places such as Oughterard for the purposes of drumming up a racist agenda.

“We need to be careful that we do not allow their populist and racist appeal to spread in the country. One way to ensure that does not happen is by the Government having a clear plan in place to ensure people seeking asylum are accommodated in the future.”

Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan (above) in the Dáil this morning on the recent withdrawal of a tender to provide a Direct Provision centre at a hotel in Oughterard, County Galway.

Good times.

Dail transcript via Oireachtas.ie

Previously: Direct Provision on Broadsheet

Connemara Galway Hotel

Pat McGrath, of RTÉ News, reports:

A tender to provide a direct provision centre at a hotel in Oughterard, Co Galway, has been withdrawn by the applicant.

Speculation that the former Connemara Gateway Hotel was to be repurposed as a centre to house asylum seekers has led to a round-the-clock protest by locals in recent weeks.

Following discussions with protesters, construction workers are entering the site this morning and removing tools from the hotel.

Tender over Oughterard direct provision centre withdrawn (RTÉ)

Previously:  In Galway


Kinsale Road Direct Provision Centre in Cork

This morning.

Roos Demol has said that after five years of bringing clothes to people who live in the Kinsale Road Direct Provision Centre in Cork, she’s been told to stop.

Roos, who is originally from Belgium and has been living in Ireland since 1998, is an intercultural facilitator and blogs on immigrantinirelad.com.

She tweetz:


Previously:  Boy From Burundi

“What Has This Guy Been Saying to Other People?”