Limerick support group criticises living conditions for asylum seekers

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

A replica of a family room in an asylum hostel has been created on Patrick Street
A REPLICA of a family room in an asylum hostel has been created on Patrick Street in the city, in a bid to bring public attention to the institutional system of accommodating asylum seekers, which is being compared to a modern day Magdalene Laundry.

A REPLICA of a family room in an asylum hostel has been created on Patrick Street in the city, in a bid to bring public attention to the institutional system of accommodating asylum seekers, which is being compared to a modern day Magdalene Laundry.

Doras Luimni, the local support group for all migrants, organised the event as part of the national day of action to highlight the living conditions of asylum seekers in this country. Thirty-five white balloons were released into the air in a show of solidarity with the residents of the 35 direct provision accommodation centres around the country.

Karen McHugh, chief executive of Doras Luimní, said there is now a heightened awareness of the “devastating impact of institutionalisation on human beings”.

“Irish society needs to apply the lessons learned from the experience of the Magdalene Laundries to the situation of thousands of asylum seekers who are being warehoused within the direct provision system for long periods of time,” said Ms McHugh.

By the end of this February there are 4,826 people living in direct provision accommodation across the country, and a total of 958 family units. The average stay in direct provision is now three years and 9 months. “When the system was set up in 2000 it was with the intention of housing applicants for a maximum of six months. The system is simply not fit for long term accommodation of individuals and families,” she added.

Doras Luimní and the Irish Refugee Council are calling on the public to get involved in the campaign by signing an online petition - www.ipetitions.com/petition/end-direct-provision/