Report reveals experiences of children in Direct Provision

The Children's Rights Alliance described the findings as "stark and shocking"

Report reveals experiences of children in Direct Provision

File photo of Direct Provision protest in Dublin. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

A children's rights group has described the findings of a report on young people in Direct Provision as "stark and shocking".

It follows the publication of the report from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

Direct Provision is the name given to the controversial system for providing asylum seekers with essential services such as food and accommodation, with more than 30 centres operating across the country.

The report found that young people are dissatisfied with the system, and say their "personal wellbeing, family life, private life and social life" have been negatively impacted by long stays in Direct Provision centres here. 

Concerns were raised about 'horrible and disgusting' food, 'overcrowded' conditions, and the "inadequacy of the weekly payments to meet basic needs such as school books, uniforms and other related expenses".

The children and young people consulted also highlighted the issue of men 'bothering' them or taking over recreational facilities.

The authors note that in many cases the children found it difficult to identify what they liked about the centres, and those discussions "resulted in significantly less data than the things they dislike and wish to change".

The report calls for a "rigorous, clear and accessible response" to the issues raised in the report.

Tanya Ward, chief executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, welcomed the publication, while expressing shock at its findings.

She argued: "Children have been hugely critical of their lives in Direct Provision and this does not make for easy reading. It is clear from the report that the children and young people have plenty to say and welcomed the opportunity to have their voice heard. It is important that we listen to them.

"The safety and welfare of children in Direct Provision cannot be compromised any longer. A dedicated child protection and welfare strategy needs to be developed and implemented immediately, as the Children’s Rights Alliance has been calling for some time."

In a statement on the report's release, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan observed: "This report is an important contribution to our policy development in this area and the stories of children and young people living in State-provided accommodation continue to contribute to the ongoing improvements in services in accommodation centres

“We have introduced the International Protection Act to improve the application process and we have introduced independent living in a number of accommodation centres. We have also established links with local communities in all accommodation centres for families so that children play as full a part in local communities as possible.”