Tag Archives: MASI

Balseskin Direct Provision Centre on St Margaret’s Road in Dublin 11

Movement Of Asylum Seekers in Ireland tweetz:

There is a mom with newborn in desperate need of a buggie, a baby cot and clothes for an 8 week old baby boy in Balseskin Direct Provision Centre. Please send us a message if you can help and we’ll connect you with the mom.

Anyone?

Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland

From top: Sunday’s Pride March in Dublin; A recent decision from an International Protection Officer at the Department of Justice in respect of a 19-year-old Muslim man seeking asylum in Ireland.

‘Overall, the applicant’s account of the discovery of his sexual orientation lacks detail and specificity of someone who is gay…’

Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland tweetz:

This (above) is a decision issued by an International Protection Officer in the Department of Justice on 14th June 2019. He’ll have to prove his sexual orientation when he appeals.

People were actually happy when the Department of Justice  put up rainbow flag & paid for asylum seekers to go to #Pride…

Previously: Misplaced Pride

A poster from the Department of Justice in a Direct Provision centre in Dublin offering people living at the centre means to travel to Dublin’s LGBTQ Pride this weekend

The Department of Justice has placed posters in some Direct Provision centres in Dublin, telling residents that it will provide transport for those who wish to attend Dublin’s Pride this weekend.

Further to this.

The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland has tweeted its thoughts on the offer…

UPDATE:

Previously: ‘I Was Treated Like A Pariah’

However

MASI

Yesterday: “I Have No Objection Of Members Of The Gardai Taking Part in A Personal Capacity”

Meanwhile..

Oh.

Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland tweetz:

This is the weekly supply of meat for a family of 4 in emergency accommodation for asylum seekers in Wicklow. By not giving asylum seekers enough food, the owner makes more money. End #DirectProvision @LeoVaradkar @CharlieFlanagan @davidstantontd

Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (Facebook)

Previously: Speaking Directly

 

From top: The late Sylva Tukula (centre); Great Western direct provision centre in Galway

Update:

Via The Irish Times:

Sylva Tukula was buried in a HSE-owned plot on May 9th at the Bohermore cemetery on the authority of the city coroner

Galway city coroner Dr Ciarán Mac Loughlin, who signed off on the burial, said he was not informed her friends were waiting to retrieve her body.

“Had we known anyone was interested we would have informed them but no one said anything to me or the bereavement officer in Galway,” Dr Mac Loughlin told The Irish Times, adding that she was found to have died of natural causes.

“We certainly would be very upset if people thought this was done in any surreptitious or underhand manner. It wasn’t, we had nothing to hide behind. If the interested parties had said they wanted to take custody of the body that would have been fine, we would have released it to them.”

A spokesman from the Department of Justice said it regretted “the unintended distress” caused to Tukula’s friends but claimed that despite the best efforts of the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA), news of her burial was only released after the event.

Miscommunication between State bodies led to woman’s burial without mourners (Irish Times)

Earlier:

Further to the report yesterday about the death of Sylva Tukula, who identified as a transwoman, in the men’s-only Great Western House Direct Provision centre in Galway and who was buried unbeknownst to her friends in May…

At the time of Sylva’s death last August, it was reported that she had requested to be moved out of the all-male centre where she reportedly had a single room.

Several weeks after her death, Sinn Féin TD Donncha O’Laoghaire tabled a question for the Tánaiste Simon Coveney and the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, in which he asked about the criteria transgenderpersons in direct provision must meet in order to be accommodated in centres of their preferred gender.

In response to the question, on September 20, 2018, Fine Gael TD and Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration David Stanton said:

“All persons seeking international protection are offered accommodation under regulation (7) of the European Communities (reception conditions) Regulations 2018. In offering that accommodation a number of factors are considered including whether a person requires any special reception needs

Where a person concerned has disclosed their self-determined identity to the Reception and Integration Agency, they are, in so far as is possible and practicable, assigned accommodation based on their needs.

At any time during a recipient’s stay in an accommodation centre, the option to request a transfer to a more suitable centre is also available to them.

“The policy of the Reception and Integration Agency is to promote equality, prevent discrimination and protect the human rights of all. Staff within accommodation centres receive regular training to equip them with the skills to support all residents.”

However…

Two months later, the Government was still being asked to guarantee transgender asylum seekers be housed in accordance with their gender identity.

A study by the National LGBT Federation (NXF) led to the publication of a report called Far From Home: Life As An LGBT Migrant In Ireland which was published in November 2018.

Co-authored by Dr Chris Noone, Dr Brian Keogh and Dr Conor Buggy, the study was dedicated to the memory of Sylva who contributed to the design of the research.

One of the study’s recommendations reads:

“Direct provision should be ended and replaced with a more humane way of welcoming asylum seekers. In the meantime, actions need to be taken to protect members of the LGBT community who are living in direct provision from isolation and homophobia.

These include guaranteeing that LGBT people are accommodated in areas where they can access LGBT-specific services, that they are housed in accordance with their gender identity and that they are kept safe.”

Last night, The Department of Justice and Equality said of Sylva’s death:

Members of staff in the Department of Justice and Equality express their sympathies and condolences to the friends and colleagues of the deceased. Ms Sylva Tukula

All deaths and serious incidents that occur within accommodation centres provided by the Department are referred to the Gardaí Siochana as a matter of course and the Gardaí in turn refer all deaths to the local Coroner’s office.

As is the case with all Gardaí/Coroner matters, the Reception and Integration Agency is not privy to information pertaining to individual investigations carried out under their remit.

This afternoon, MASI, Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland responded:

It is totally regrettable and unacceptable that a [Department of] Justice spokesperson can come out and cry crocodile tears, that it was unintentional for them to secretly bury one of our own just like that.

More than we hate the system of direct provision, the one thing that it does is it brings us together and we become a family, not by choice.

We are a family in these centres from very strange circumstances.

When one of us suffer, we all suffer, we feel each other’s pain.

When we are even denied the very moment to say properly ‘goodbye’, it simply demonstrates how we are not treated as human beings in Ireland under the racist system of direct provision.

How do you undo what has been done already, we are hurting and no amount of sorry will ever change what you have done and are still doing to our people.

We are still yet to know the actual cause of death, even this will be kept as secret. Shame on you, Minister for Justice] Charlie [Flanagan].

Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (Facebook)

Pics: GCN

Yesterday: Buried Alone

Previously: Speaking Directly

This morning.

In Committee Room 2 in Leinster House.

Members of the Irish Refugee Council and Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) – including Lucky Khambule and Bulelani Mfaco – are appearing before the Oireachtas justice committee.

They are discussing direct provision and the international protection process.

Just yesterday, the Ombudsman Peter Tyndall said direct provision centres are unsuitable for longer-term occupation and called for a formal resettlement programme to be put in place.

At the end of his opening contribution, Mr Mfaco said:

“We are human beings, like everyone, like all of you. All we ask is that we be treated as such. The very fact that people have to ask the Government to treat them humanely should shame all of you.”

UPDATE:

Donnah Vumah, of MASI, told the committee that there is a dearth of mental health services available to people living in direct provision.

She said the “only thing there at the moment” are posters in the centres telling people they can contact The Samaritans or Spirasi (an organisation which helps survivors of torture who are asylum seekers, refugees, or other disadvantaged migrant groups).

However, Donnah said securing an appointment with Spirasi requires asylum seekers to get that appointment through a referral from a solicitor or from a GP and that usually takes a “very long time”.

She added:

“This is why we find that a lot of people tend to turn to things like sleeping tablets or alcohol, they develop a lot of addictions such as gambling addictions because they are trying to find a way to cope with living in that situation.”

Lucky Khambule told the committee that the number of suicide attempts in direct provision centres has increased in the past 18 months.

He said last year alone there were five deaths in direct provision.

He said some of these deaths concerned individuals with mental health issues while some were using sleeping tablets.

“We feel this is not qualified obviously, that the provision of the tablets, in terms of addressing the mental health issue, is the wrong one. The psychological traumas that people do face in direct provision are the things that need to be addressed in a very, very serious way.

“Otherwise we will see more deaths happening in direct provision because we ignore the signs that are there on mental health issues.”

MASI member Tinda Ndlovu told the committee that she and her three children live in Direct Provision.

She said that her eldest child, aged nine, has previously said to her:

“Sometimes when I feel sad, I feel like kiling myself.”

Mr Mfaco, who is gay and living in Knockalisheen Direct Provision Centre in Clare, spoke about homophobic slurs that he has received at the centre.

He said he doesn’t trust anyone in the centre and when he goes to eat in its canteen, he will sit somewhere with his back against the wall as he doesn’t feel comfortable.

He added:

“You have staff members in direct provision who also undermine privacy for individuals.

“I was sitting in my room one day and they knocked once and they opened the door. It’s a lady who worked in Knockalisheen. She knocked once, she opened the door and I was sitting in my room getting ready to go and have a shower.

“So obviously I had my underwear on.

“The next time it happened it was a manager in Knockalisheen direct provision centre who walked into the men’s showers, in the men’s block…She opened the door in the men’s showers, she looked, and then she closed the doors and said ‘sorry’ as she walked away.

“It’s a man’s shower. What are you expecting to see there? Like privacy means nothing to them.”

“We’ve had similar incidences in Hatch Hall Direct Provision Centre and in Balseskin Direct Provision Centre [both in Dublin] where either a staff person walks into a room where a person is naked or another resident walks into a room and the person is naked.”

“We’ve had experiences from children who feel unsafe in the way that men look at them, creepily, it’s been reported in the news.

“…women who feel unsafe sharing those intimate living spaces with other people because a lot of the women, some of them would have suffered torture or sexual violence and to be placed then in a position where you feel you’re unsafe again becomes very cruel.”

Mr Mfaco also spoke about the sexual exploitation of some people living in direct provision.

He said:

When people aren’t allowed to work legally, it creates then the openness for whoever wants to exploit them to actually do… and we’ve had people who come to MASI who work from 7am in the morning until 5pm and they are only paid €25 to €27.

“It becomes very difficult then for a person to live a normal life because they don’t have a sense of what their rights are once they are actually given permission to leave – they might just continue with that exploitation.

“We’ve also had people being offered money for sex in direct provision.

“Because people know that there are people who are getting paid €21.60 per week, it’s now €38.80, and you have to live.

“I’ve been offered money for sex, there are children who’ve been offered money for sex, there are women who’ve been offered money for sex.

“So it becomes very, the exploitation, we don’t know to what extent that it is happening but we have reports from our work and other people.”

Christopher Sibanda, who has lived in a direct provision centre in Waterford for the past three years and travels to Dublin for college every day – therefore spends six hours on the road – told the committee that he shares a room with three other men.

He said the room is four metres long by four metres wide.

He said he would invite any politician to join him and a spend a night in his centre to see what life is like in direct provision.

He said:

“In that same environment, in that same centre, Viking House, there is no area where if you come today and visit me, where you can sit and talk to me, just greet me. There is none.

“That is not human living.

“The jailer-prisoner attitude that pervades there is not for human beings.

“…the treatment by the centre managements, I don’t know what is in place by RIA [Reception Integration Agency] that has been put in place for training of the people that work there because they do have the feeling that they are jailers there and that we are prisoners.

“And that they are doing favours for us.

From the kitchen staff – you get people being thrown with plates of food. Some times those plates will fall and people will laugh.

That happens to human beings [inaudible] who will be in a queue by the way and you will then beg for food.

“If you happen to miss a meal, you miss a meal, you know you’ve missed a meal, you can come back, the same food that has not been served because I missed meal obviously, there will be leftovers, cannot be served to me because I’m out of meal time.

“That is not human.”

Mr Sibanda also said he cannot take a lunch from the centre with him when he leaves for college.

Mr Mfaco also spoke about how many children and adults “warehoused” in direct provision centres are prevented from integrating in Irish society and, in fact, “segregated” from Irish people.

He said:

“Like when you go, get off the bus in Limerick city centre. You see all these brown people, you actually see Irish people staring at us and going ‘where did this bus come from?’

“It has brown people. They don’t look like, they look different, it only has them.

“Everybody knows it’s from a direct provision centre.

“When the bus shows up at the school. Some of the school kids are ashamed, of their friends to know, but everybody knows that that school bus is going to take them to a direct provision centre.”

Mr Mfaco said it’s a similar situation for adult asylum seekers when they go to their local Post Office to collect their weekly allowance.

“Everybody in the queue, everybody in the Post Office staff, know that that person lives in a direct provision centre.

“…you’re constantly reminded of how bad your life is, and you’re constantly reminded that you are not considered part of Irish society. You’re divorced from social life, you can’t really socialise on €38.80 while you’re living in Mount Trenchard [Limerick], there is no public transport.

“There is no public transport in Knockalisheen and other direct provision centres as well.”

He later added:

We get called ‘welfare scroungers, fee loaders. We’ve had, in the election campaign, we’ve been called freeloaders, we never asked.

“When an asylum seeker came to Ireland, they never asked the Irish Government for a plate of food. Nobody arrives at Dublin Airport and says ‘I’d like to have food please’.

“So when you tell me that you’re providing me with food, I never asked for any of that, I asked for protection. 

“So it becomes very difficult to even begin to talk about integration for us when we have people being warehoused in direct provision centres without access to very basic everyday things.”

The meeting can be watched in the video link above and here.

Previously: In Direct Provision For 14 Years

Free lunchtime next Wednesday?

In Limerick?

MASI (Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland) will hold a local election hustings on Direct Provision at Central Buildings at 51 O’Connell St in Limerick city from 1.05pm to 1.55pm.

MASI write:

“Find out where the political parties stand on Direct Provision at this lunchtime event in Central Buildings Limerick. Each party will be given a chance to outline their party’s position, and we will have time for questions at the end.”

Meanwhile…

In Cork.

Next Thursday, May 16, at 7.30pm in the Clayton Hotel Silver Springs.

The Irish Examiner will hold a debate involving the South candidates for the European Election on May 24.

The event will be moderated by Daniel McConnell, Irish Examiner Policial Editor, and Michael Clifford, Irish Examiner Special Correspondent.

Tickets for the event can be booked here

LE 2019 – Lunchtime Hustings on Direct Provision (Facebook)

Outside the Direct Provision centre in Mosney, Co Meath

This afternoon.

Some residents of the Direct Provision centre at the former Mosney holiday camp in Co Meath are holding a protest.

It follows a single mother reportedly attempting suicide at the centre.

Yesterday, the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland posted the following on Facebook:

Not very long ago, a man living in the Hazel Hotel Direct Provision centre in Kildare died as a result of suicide.

His roommates and friends tried to get help for him and their attempts were met with a government that is uninterested in the wellbeing of people living in Direct Provision centre.

With a prevailing sense of hopelessness, the man took his life. He was not the first person to do so in a Direct Provision centre.

And considering that the State gives people antidepressants or sleeping pills instead of addressing the causality of untenable limbo in the system, it would be naive to think that he’d be the last person to do so.

A single mother who has only been in Ireland for a few weeks is in hospital after attempting suicide in the Mosney Direct Provision centre.

The mother arrived in Ireland with her 5 year old son. A few days ago, her other 2 children, a 16 year old boy and an 11 year girl joined her.

She was to remain in Mosney Direct Provision centre while her asylum claim is processed. However, she was advised by staff in Mosney that they do not have space to accommodate the family of 4 and so they were shipped off to a hotel in Cavan.

The hotel in Cavan gave the family a standard hotel room where all 4 were expected to live.

The teenage boy required medical attention and there was no assistance provided in the hotel.

Concerned for her child’s life, the single mother left the hotel in Cavan and went back to Mosney where she’d at least have staff assist with getting help.

Since international protection applicants are new to Ireland and as such are unfamiliar with how things work, staff in Direct Provision centres are to display all the relevant emergency contact details and call for emergency services when the need arises.

There was no one to point her in the right direction so she contacted the International Protection Office and informed them that she was returning to Mosney.

She was met with hostility from one staff member in the centre who shouted at her, telling that she needs to take her children and go. The mother did not leave.

The staff member then told her that she wouldn’t get food and care for her sick child. The distressed mother reported the matter to Tusla.

Other residents in the centre contacted a local councillor who spoke with management and a house that can accommodate the family magically appeared in the same Mosney they had claimed had no space for her. The mother is in hospital after attempting suicide.

When a child or resident in Reception and Integration (it should be incarceration) Agency accommodation needs medical attention, the staff are required to organise transport to a healthcare facility as most Direct Provision centres aren’t accessible by public transport.

Here you have a case of a family being shipped around without reason as means of punishment for complaining.

Other residents MASI spoke to are fearful and reluctant to raise issues they have with management because the minute a person complains, they are moved to another centre.

Such is the case of the man who was transferred from Mosney to Longford after an altercation in the centre.

Three children could’ve lost their mother to suicide because of staff in Direct Provision centres who treat people like a Yoyo, moving them around at will.

Other residents are terrified to raise any concerns they have because they could be uprooted anytime to a place that is worse than the one they are currently in.

MASI calls on the Department of Justice and Equality to abolish the abhorrent system of Direct Provision and treat people with dignity.

After 20 years and many suicides, we’re tired of mourning asylum seekers who are pushed to limits by staff who do not respect their right to dignity.

Ireland used to treat international protection applicants humanely. Surely someone in the Irish government knows how to vindicate fundamental human rights for everyone in Ireland. And we encourage Irish people to contact their elected representatives and tell them to #EndDirectProvision.

Residents may stage a protest and would welcome support from people living close to Mosney.

Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (Facebook)

UPDATE:

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)