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Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions

Direct Provision: Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality

4:00 pm

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance) | Oireachtas source

I also asked about another matter. Ultimately, these decisions come back to the Minister of State. I take the point about bringing like-minded people together, which is fair enough. We need to do that urgently because we are 15 years too late, but then it comes back to the Minister of State. Some details are up for discussion about how exactly we do the right thing and that there may be some difficulties in doing so. Other things, however, are not up for discussion. First, we have wronged all the people who have gone though the system if, as the Minister of State rightly says, we cannot stand over it.

It is shameful what has been done to children and shameful that people have had that many years of their lives robbed from them. It is also shameful, for example, that victims of sex trafficking are put into direct provision centres in completely inappropriate circumstances. It is shameful that children do not have money to buy school books. It is also shameful that they do not have access to proper health care due to prescription charges and lack of money.

Is it part of the remit to make as much recompense as we can to the people we have wronged? Will the Minister of State say that that will be done? We owe those people in the same way as we owe those who were in the Magdalen laundries and mother and baby homes. These are absolute racing certainties, otherwise we are not doing what needs to be done. We are not doing right by these people and it comes back to the Minister of State.

Is the Minister of State worried about the Irish Refugee Council pulling out of the working group? Can he say anything about what will happen, one way or the other, regardless of the deliberations of this group? They have to happen because they are the right things to do.

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