Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has described the continued lengthy incarceration of people in direct provision centres as ‘an injustice’ and called on the government to take urgent steps to implement all of the recommendations of the McMahon report into direct provision centres.
The Sinn Féin leader described the Taoiseach’s response to his question on direct provision, (Tuesday Taoiseach’s Questions) which referred only to the introduction of self-catering to Mosney, “as deeply offensive to those who have been trapped in the direct provision system – over six hundred of them for more than 5 years.
Teachta Adams said:
“The government’s Programme for Government’s acknowledges that long durations in direct provision has a negative impact on family life and commits the government to reform. Despite this the government has failed to implement all of the 173 recommendations of the McMahon report which was published almost a year and a half ago.
Last month the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report revealed that one in six people living in direct provision in August this year had already been granted permission to remain in the state. But they have nowhere to go and are consequently stuck in the direct provision system.
In the most recent review of progress in implementing the McMahon report the government admits that just over half – 91 recommendations – have been implemented. The remaining 82 have only been partially implemented or have seen no progress at all. The McMahon report also urged an amnesty for those who have been here more than 5 years.
The direct provision system has been widely and justifiably condemned. It lacks humanity and compassion. Currently, there are 4301 people in direct provision centres. 2611 have been there between one and five years. 614 have lived in these centres for more than five years.
They can’t feed themselves, they aren’t allowed to work and there is a limit on how far children can progress through our education system. They are paid a paltry €19.10 a week with €15.60 for children. Christmas is only seven weeks away. What sort of Christmas can the hundreds of families locked away in the direct provision centres expect to have?
I have visited the direct provision centre in Mosney several times. It is like Long Kesh without the watchtowers, the barbed wire and the armed guards. No one should live there for months, never mind years. When I raised this serious issue with the Taoiseach his response was largely limited to the fact that Mosney now has self-catering and that this will be replicated in other places. This was not a serious answer to a very serious matter. It was for those trapped in that system, deeply offensive.”