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Submisson to Justice & Equality Joint Committee

27th May 2019

Executive Summary

MASI is the collective Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland, a platform for asylum seekers to join together in unity and purpose. As a group of people directly affected by the system of direct provision and as people who are currently undergoing the international protection application process, we, unlike experts and NGOs, are uniquely placed to offer direction to the Committee on Justice and Equality on these issues.

The content and recommendations in our submission are all directly informed by the experiences of members as asylum seekers; people who live every day of their lives under the dehumanising system of direct provision. The purpose of our submission is to gather together our collective experiences to inform the Justice Committee and to make a series of key proposals that will make the Irish State‟s asylum system compatible with minimum human rights standards.

Our recommendations are informed by a number of key principles:

  • Human rights are not gifts bestowed by governments and institutions; they are rights and entitlements that we all possess by virtue of being human. People cannot be treated as „less than‟ others and, indeed less than human, merely because of differences in nationality and citizenship.
  • The asylum system is obliged to uphold and vindicate the fundamental human rights of all international protection applicants, including family rights, the right to privacy, the right to education, the right to work, the best interests of the child, vulnerable persons, LGBT rights, women‟s rights, the right to religious freedom.
  • The role of the asylum system is to vindicate peoples‟ right to seek asylum and to live in safety in Ireland.
  • The rights of the child and the protection of children in the international protection system must be a priority of the asylum system.
  • Deportations are brutal and dehumanising can have no part of an ethical and human rights centred approach to asylum and migration.
  • People seeking protection in Ireland are entitled to live an independent life with their families in accommodation that upholds the rights to privacy, dignity, and integrity of the person.

Our key recommendations are:

  • Legal Process: The process of seeking asylum is first and foremost a legal process so it is essential that people receive all necessary legal advice and that the system is orientated towards vindicating peoples‟ right to seek asylum and to live in safety.
  • Work: The right to work must be immediate and unrestricted for all people seeking protection in Ireland.
  • Reception: People should be accommodated in reception for no longer than three months before moving into housing in the community.
  • Direct Provision: Direct provision should be abolished and people seeking asylum in Ireland should have access to the same housing supports via their local authorities as is the case for others.
  • Full and tuition fee free access to education and training at all levels must be available to international protection applicants.

We conclude our submission with a summary of the our recommendations that if implemented, would take Ireland away from the abhorrent and dehumanising system of Direct Provision and move towards a more humane asylum process.

Download full submission here : https://www.dropbox.com/s/ps8ch9a5xgsinuy/MASI%20SUBMISSION?dl=0

Attacks on Direct Provision centres: Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland & Anti-Racism Network Joint Statement

MASI and ARN come together to strongly condemn those responsible for what appears to be a deliberate arson attack on the Shannon Key West Hotel which took place on January 10th in Rooskey, Co. Leitrim. This hotel was due to open as a Direct Provision centre having been contracted by the Reception and Integration Agency of the Department of Justice and Equality.  The intention was for it to house 80 people who are seeking asylum in Ireland.

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A successful end-of-year fundraiser!

We had a blast of a night just before Christmas at theWorkman’s Bar at our end of the year fund raising gig.

Wonderful performances from the musicians like DJ Don Rosco, Kaleidoscope collective (They live in Mosney DP centre) they are absolutely brilliant, we also were blessed to have Yankari band, great guys, finally our own MASI DJ Leslie Goldfinger, wonderful play brother. We were also blessed to have the great Clara Rose Thornton doing her spoken word and MC for the night.
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Inside Ireland’s Direct Provision: A slice of bread and the bureaucracy

A mother in Knockalisheen Accommodation Centre was refused a slice of bread for her sick child. The child had been recovering and at 1AM, he wanted something to eat. The mother called a friend to walk her to the reception area to ask for a slice of bread. Aramark staff told her that they received instructions from management not to give residents anything outside meal times. A few hours before the mother went through this, an adult male resident was refused milk and coffee by the same Aramark staff. The Direct Provision centre, like all others without self-catering facilities, has meal times displayed on the notice boards. Continue reading

Looking back on the 10 days lockout in Cork (2014)

Asylum seekers mount protest at Cork direct provision centre

Barry Roche – Irish Times – Tuesday 16th September 2014

Up to 300 residents of a direct provision centre for asylum seekers in Cork yesterday mounted a protest at the system of direct provision. Residents at the Kinsale Road Reception and Accommodation Centre on the outskirts of Cork city began the protest at 5am yesterday and blocked staff from gaining entry to the premises. “Some of the people here have been in the Kinsale Road Centre for eight and nine years and they are calling for the ending of the direct provision system once and for all,” said Joe Moore of Anti-Deportation Ireland, which is supporting the action. The protest comes just a day after Minister of State at the Department of Justice Aodhán Ó Ríordáin criticised the way that direct provision centres for asylum seekers are being operated.

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Inside Ireland’s Direct Provision: LGBT+ lives matters

The Irish government recently published Statutory Instrument 230 of 2018 which regulates reception conditions for asylum seekers. The regulations also provide for how the State will treat vulnerable persons in the asylum process. Continue reading

MASI Statement 27.07.2018: Roadblocks on the Right to Work

Last month, the government opted into the EU Reception Conditions Directive, which among other things allows for a limited right to work for people seeking asylum. Prior to this, Ireland was one of only two EU states that imposed a total ban on access to work for asylum seekers. The opt-in was in response to a Supreme Court ruling in May of last year that found the total and indefinite ban to be unconstitutional.

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Inside Ireland’s Direct provision: by Bulelani Mfaco

Did the Supreme Court fail to protect asylum seekers or is the government failing in its redress?

A man from Burma who had spent 8 years in Direct Provision was offered a job while awaiting a decision on his application for International Protection. He could not take up the employment because asylum seekers were barred from seeking work and working while their application is being processed. The application process can be very lengthy. Sometimes it becomes necessary to restart the process. And he did that several times before being granted
protection.

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Permission to access the labour market

International protection applicants can apply for a permission to access the labour market. You can apply for this permission from 2 July 2018.

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Watergate Residents Resisting Eviction

Residents in Watergate Apartments in Dublin 8 are facing eviction this Friday the 22nd of September by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of the Department of Justice.

A number of residents of Watergate House direct provision centre are facing eviction Friday the 22nd of September. They have formed the Watergate House Residents Committee and have the following demands:

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Direct Provision in Ireland: The Holding Pen for Asylum Seekers | By John Grayson

In the first of a series, asylum campaigner John Grayson examines the Direct Provision (DP) system for asylum seekers in Ireland. Part-two will examine the private companies involved in providing services under DP. (Original piece posted here)

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Statement by MASI-Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland on weekly allowance increase for asylum seekers in direct provision:

In the Republic of Ireland, on the day new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar took office, what does he do – he goes and endorses the system called Direct Provision by increasing the weekly allowance by €6.00 for children and €2.50 for adults, making the allowance €21.60 for everyone. We reject this increase in the strongest possible terms. We really feel insulted by the newly elected Taoiseach, who seems to have no understanding whatsoever about what we have gone through in direct provision for 17 years. The Taoiseach said that these offensively miniscule increases would give asylum seekers more disposable income – if our situation wasn’t so serious this would be a joke. We were not consulted on this, no one asked us what we needed. We are furious that people think that 2.50 or 6 euro will do anything to address the damage caused to our lives by Direct Provision.

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Oireachtas A/V room presentation: Direct Provision and the International Protection Act, Tues 21st, 6-6.30pm

The introduction last month of a new asylum application procedure has created chaos for thousands of people living in Direct Provision. This Tuesday 21st March, MASI (Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland), ARN (Anti-Racism Network), with supporters Wendy Lyon (immigration solicitor) and Donal O’Kelly (playwright) will describe the impact of this new procedure and other aspects of the new International Protection Act. Continue reading

Dáil Q&A with Minister for Justice and Equality

QUESTION NOS:  86, 88, 89 & 102

DÁIL QUESTIONS addressed to the Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald) by Deputy Catherine Connolly

Thursday, 23rd February, 2017. Continue reading

Letter to: Irish Refugee Council, Nasc, Doras Luimni, Jesuit Refugee Service, Crosscare, Migration Rights Centre Ireland, Cori, Immigrant Council of Ireland, ENAR

URGENT APPEAL TO ASYLUM SEEKER SUPPORT & ADVOCACY NGOS RE. INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION APPLICATION DEADLINE CLARIFICATION & EXTENSION Continue reading

Campaigners call on Minister Frances Fitzgerald to issue urgent clarification and extension of deadline for shambolic new asylum seeker application system.

PRESS RELEASE

Controversial legislation which was guillotined through the Dail by Minister Frances Fitzgerald in December 2015 is this weekend causing extreme distress and confusion for hundreds of people caught within Ireland’s notorious direct provision system. Continue reading

Procurement and Management of Contracts for Direct Provision

6.1 International and European law provides for the granting of international protection to those who cannot return to their country of origin because they have a well-founded fear of persecution or are at risk of being ill treated or subjected to other serious harm. Individuals who apply for international protection and are awaiting a decision on that application are referred to as asylum seekers. Continue reading

An open letter to Minister Francis Fitzgerald TD from MASI

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. Continue reading

A young mother dies at a direct provision centre in Cork

On Tuesday the 23rd August 2016, we learnt with shock and regret the passing away of a young Korean mother who resided at Kinsale Road Accommodation Centre at about 8:15pm. Circumstances that lead to her death are still not accurately clear at this stage as we believe an autopsy still needs to be conducted. From our talks with her close friends and residents, the body of this young mother was discovered by the security in her room just behind her door. We can’t disclose further confirmed details at this stage.

Residents at the centre got together on Wednesday the 24th August 2016 to discuss the incident and to decide on the way forward to deal with the situation as a group. One official for CCP also attended this meeting to offer her support to the residents. It was evident from the meeting that residents were aggrieved, shocked, sad and angry about the situation and the way they felt it was being handled. Continue reading

Response to Minister Fitzgerald

This week Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald claimed that the inhumane system of Direct Provision is “here to stay.” She said this in spite of the universal recognition that this system is not fit for purpose and seriously violates our human rights. The effects of Direct Provision on those of us experiencing it are long-lasting and multiple: poverty, social exclusion, malnutrition and lack of access to education and developmental opportunities.

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Ask Us What We Want – On ‘Reforming’ Direct Provison

aboriginal-protest

To reform or not to reform, that is a question:

This is the breeder to hate

This is the breeder of poverty

This is the breeder of racism

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Learn to Listen from the Bottom. Writing on Direct Provision

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Give me education department, I will reform it; give me Health services department I will reform it; give me Justice Department I will reform it. But don’t try and reform a system that is not meant for good purpose that is not meant for long term that is not meant to keep people for many years and destroy their lives. Direct Provision is just a system that was never meant to exist from the word go. Whoever came with this idea the first time must have been misguided somehow. So how on earth can you begin to reform such a system which has no future on society? When Direct Provision was initially introduced in Ireland in 2000, it was a system that was supposed to be in existence only for six months. As soon as it started it was evident that it was a system that was not going to work. Even the then Minister of Justice and Equality agreed that it was not the cleverest of the decision the government made.

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MASI letter to the Irish Times

This letter was sent by MASI to the Irish Times last week, signed by MASI activists in direct provision detention in Clare, Cork, Limerick, and Portlaoise. Unfortunately the letter was not published so we are publishing here. We saw an article the next day in the Irish Times announcing that four writers had received awards for their writing about Direct Provision.

And they keep getting awards out of our misery, but we are still here suffering.

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