Melatu Uche Okorie says fear keeps people living in direct provision in Ireland for long periods 1 month ago

Melatu Uche Okorie says fear keeps people living in direct provision in Ireland for long periods

“There is something that people actually ignore and that is that emotion called fear.”

Melatu Uche Okorie says fear is one of the reasons why some people spend long periods of time living in direct provision in Ireland.

The Nigerian author arrived in Ireland 12 years ago seeking asylum, and spent eight-and-a-half years living in direct provision, a theme she addressed in a conversation with Dion Fanning on this week’s episode of Ireland Unfiltered.

Speaking about her own experience of direct provision, Okorie said: “I think the thing is, what actually cripples people is the fact that after a while, when you leave a place after a year, two years, three years, it’s harder to return. You just don’t return back because of the fear. There is something that people actually ignore and that is that emotion called fear.”

Subscribe to hear the full interview here.

“It’s very… it cripples you, you know,” Okorie added.

“Probably the imaginings of what is there or what you’re going back to is always harder than people, you know… people underestimate it, that feeling of the unknown, of fear, of where do I start again? Of ‘Oh probably, you know, this person is no longer there’, you probably had a mother that died while you were in direct provision or you have family who are no longer there and then you think, ‘Where do I start from?’

“So those are the things that I think that actually keep people for that long and they wait in the system for that long.”

Okorie, who is a PhD candidate at Trinity College and who had a book, The Hostel Life, published this year, also spoke to Fanning about issues such as casual racism in Ireland and her experience of Irish people in general.

You can watch the full interview below.

You can listen to the ninth episode of Ireland Unfiltered in its entirety by simply clicking here and you can use #IrelandUnfiltered to join the conversation on social.

Ireland Unfiltered, brought to you in partnership with Carlsberg Unfiltered, will be available everywhere you get your podcasts and on YouTube every Tuesday.