New government would commit to ending Direct Provision
"The current system needs to change."
The draft programme for coalition government between Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party commits to ending the current system of Direct Provision.
Originally introduced as a temporary measure over 20 years ago, Direct Provision has come in for sustained criticism from residents, migrant interest groups and political parties.
In the new draft programme for government published this lunchtime, assurances are made that accommodation will be provided for asylum seekers that "has the protection and promotion of human rights at its core." It also states that "the current system needs to change".
'There's a sense of shame around direct provision within the Irish government, they don't really discuss it.'@NatashaMaimba spent 4 years living in direct provision. She tells us why it needs to be included in the conversation around racism in Ireland. pic.twitter.com/TRhxax2mDo
— JOE.ie (@JOEdotie) June 9, 2020
The outgoing Fine Gael government has already appointed an Expert Group on the Provision of Support, including Accommodation, to asylum seekers, which is chaired by Catherine Day. The programme states that they will act on the interim recommendations from this expert group to improve conditions for asylum seekers currently living in Direct Provision, including the right to work, an ability to apply for drivers' licenses and bank accounts, provision of mental health services and an independent inspection process.
The new government say they are "committed to ending the Direct Provision system and will replace it with a new International Protection accommodation policy centred on a not-for-profit approach, and also commits the 33rd Dáil to publishing a White Paper by the end of 2020 setting out how this new system will be structured and exactly how it will be achieved.
There are currently over 7,000 people living in Direct Provision centres in Ireland awaiting refugee status. According to Doras, an NGO focused on migrant rights in Ireland, the current average waiting time for residents is two years, with some staying in the system for much longer than that.