Mosney direct provision centre is like Long Kesh without the watchtowers, armed guards and barbed wire – Adams

DSC_3254_6510Sinn 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.”

 

Adams asks Minister for Children to visit Mosney Direct Provision Centre

DSC_3254_6510Louth TD Gerry Adams has written to the Minister for Children, Catherine Zappone, to highlight concerns for children living in the Mosney Direct Provision Centre and to ask her to visit the site.

The Sinn Féin President said;

“There are currently 119 children living on the Mosney site.

“In May 2015 HIQA published report on the Child Welfare and Protection Services being provided to children and families in Direct Provision.  This report found significantly higher incidents of referral to TUSLA of children living in direct provision than in the general population and Minister Zappone has confirmed to me that social services are currently involved in 12 child welfare or protection cases at the Mosney centre.

“Following publication of the HIQA report I posed a series of questions to the then Minister, James Reilly.  Contained within the response, which was provided by TUSLA, was a commitment to identify two practitioners, one from Child Protection Services and one from Family Support Services, to act as Liaison Officers with the Reception and Integration Agency to provide a direct line of communication and referral for both services.

“In May 2016 I asked Minister Zappone if these commitments had been delivered and she responded saying that she is still waiting for information regarding these two appointments.

“A year has passed since I initially posed these questions and 15 months have passed since the publication of the HIQA report.  These key staff will help ensure the safety and well being of the children resident in Mosney and they should have been appointed long ago.

“I have visited Mosney numerous times and I have spoken about the conditions the people there are existing in.  I have asked Minister Zappone to visit Mosney with me.

“There are huge problems within the Direct Provision system which was originally intended to accommodate asylum seekers for six months. Today almost half of the 4,324 people living in the system have been there for five years.

“Residents in these centres are not allowed to work and they survive on a State subsidy of €19 per week per adult and less than €10 per week for a child.

“Conditions in the centres are unacceptable. They are overcrowded, with families often sharing one room. Basic essentials like soap, toilet rolls and other items are rationed. Residents must pay for prescription medication.  There are limited recreational or living areas and the stress on those in the centres, especially from the fear of deportation is a constant worry.

“Media reports are indicting that yesterday a Korean woman living in a Direct Provision Centre in Cork died by suicide.  This is a tragedy for this women’s family, particularly her son, and all supports must be provided to this child and the other residents at this time.”