Dear Minister,

Last week the 23rd August 2016 we learned with shock of the tragic death of a young Korean resident in the Kinsale Road Accommodation Centre in Cork. We first of all once again extend our deepest condolences to her family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers remain with her and her loved ones who are struggling to comprehend this terrible event.

That a young woman would find herself in such a desperate situation while in the Direct Provision system is tragic but not surprising. There is a range of evidence indicating the serious negative impact that this system has on the mental health of its residents, as well as the disproportionate levels of depression and other forms of mental illness among asylum seekers compared to the general population. The Department of Justice cannot act as though this tragedy was unforeseen.

In order to ensure that a proper investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death is achieved, and to help prevent any further loss of life at the hands of the system, we pose the following questions to the relevant authorities:

  • During the initial phases of her asylum procedure, what specific measures were taken to identify particular vulnerabilities in this young woman, such as depression and suicidal tendencies?
  • What conclusions were reached about her psychological vulnerabilities following the interview process?
  • What exceptions were then made to her conditions of residence to accommodate her mental state, on the basis of these conclusions?
  • In particular, what mental health services were made available to her during her stay in Direct Provision, and what proactive steps were taken to ensure that she could access these supports?
  • To what extent, if any, was there consistent monitoring by councillors or psychologists of the young woman’s mental well-being? 
  • What steps will now be taken to investigate the shortcomings of the asylum process, in particular its capacity to identify and cater to the mental health needs of those in the system?
  • Do the authorities recognise the intrinsic link between the inhumane conditions of Direct Provision and the disproportionate levels of depression afflicting those in the system?

We look forward to, at minimum, hearing a full and comprehensive response to the above questions. We also expect that the failures of Direct Provision and our grievances and demands around it will finally be acted upon, before the system claims any more of our lives.


Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI)