Direct Provision has been described as “not safe for children” following a damning report by the Ombudsman for Children.
In 2021, Niall Muldoon and his team carried out an investigation into the lives of children living in Direct Provision and made recommendations to Tusla, the International Protection Accommodation Service and Department Children.
“The first was to cease the use of private hospitality services and hotels and BnBs,” Mr Muldoon told The Hard Shoulder.
“The second was to make sure there was strong regulation by HIQA across all the accommodation centres where children in Direct Provision were [housed].
“And the third was to make sure they’d had a vulnerability assessment to see what needs they had so they could cater for them properly in the right accommodation.”
Today the OCO publishes our Special Report on Safety and Welfare of Children in Direct Provision.
Our special report follows on from our 2021 investigation and the inadequate standards still in places for children.
Read the full report: https://t.co/kF66IkFVIe pic.twitter.com/6p9LvYY0QD
— Ombudsman for Children (@OCO_ireland) October 19, 2023
Two years on and Mr Muldoon said the State “cannot be sure” child welfare standards are being met.
“They said they would follow them up [the recommendations] but... they haven’t,” he
“I cannot say that I am satisfied with the progress… It’s the first time we’ve had to say that.”
End of Direct Provision?
Direct Provision was set up in 2000 to provide international protection applicants with somewhere to live.
It was originally meant to be temporary and Mr Muldoon described it is as a “system that’s been faulty since the day it was born”.
“We need to recognise that we need to change that and it’s not safe for children,” he said.
In the Programme for Government, the coalition said it was “committed to ending the Direct Provision system” and Mr Muldoon said it is important they follow through on their promise.
“Essentially what we’ve got to do is remind ourselves that Direct Provision was never suitable and Minister O’Gorman and this Government both agreed Direct Provision would be ended by this Dáil term,” he said.
“There’s no sign of this happening.”
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Main image: A general view of the Mosney Direct Provision centre in County Meath. Picture by: Niall Carson/PA Wire