Thursday, 11 July 2019
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
Direct Provision System
Unfortunately, the Minister did not answer any of the questions I put to him. I note that, in his response, the number of people in emergency accommodation has jumped to 988 from 872, which was the last information I had. There are countless more issues that I could bring up that are affecting people in emergency accommodation, everything from packed lunches to the way that residents are moved without adequate warning from temporary centres to direct provision, but I am conscious I am short of time.
The urgent point that I want to hammer home to the Minister today is that direct provision is unacceptable and temporary centres are an unbelievable extension of the horrific nature of that system. We did not think that direct provision could get worse but temporary centres have proven that it can. I urge the Minister to prioritise addressing this. It seems there is a complete absence of basic social welfare provision to asylum seekers in temporary centres in Wicklow. That goes against what the Minister's Department states should happen. I again urge him to review it and intervene in those situations because only through the likes of the refugee group in Bray and other organisations are the most vulnerable people to whom the State is giving protection getting what they are supposed to. Such advocates are going out and speaking directly to GPs, and it is only by those means that these people are accessing medical cards and GPs. There are serious problems and the Minister cannot stick his head in the sand and say we are looking at expanding the direct provision system. The whole system of substandard emergency accommodation is failing these people. The Minister knows that and needs to address it immediately.