Jennifer Whitmore TD, Social Democrats spokesperson for Children, has welcomed the publication of an expert advisory group’s report on reforming Ireland’s direct provision system.

Deputy Whitmore said:

“The advisory group, which is led by former Secretary General of the European Commission, Dr Catherine Day, has sent a list of recommendations to the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and Minister for Children, Disabilities, Equality and Integration Roderic O’Gorman.

“The report outlines a series of critiques of the current direct provision system and recommends a way to transition to a new approach that respects the needs and dignity of asylum seekers.

“It also suggests a permanent system to determine international protection applications within fixed time limits.

“This is in line with what the Social Democrats have been calling for. The Government should work to replace direct provision with a humane asylum system which makes timely decisions on people’s applications for refugee status.

“The advisory group’s report correctly highlights the links between the time taken to process international protection applications and the time spent by applicants in direct provision centres.

“I fully agree with the report’s conclusion that a system which places applicants for long periods of time in segregated, congregated accommodation – with little privacy or scope for normal family life – is not fit for purpose. Such arrangements are particularly risky in the context of Covid-19 and it is not surprising that direct provision settings have been linked with numerous clusters.

“It is our party’s policy to end direct provision in Ireland and we will be calling on the Government to implement the recommendations in this report without delay.”

October 21, 2020

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