1 March 2021
By Elaine Murphy
The Cork South West Green Party recently welcomed the publication of the Government’s White Paper to End Direct Provision and to establish a New International Protection Support Service. Launched today by the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman TD & Minister Joe O’Brien, Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development with special responsibility for Community Development and Charities, Ending Direct Provision is a key commitment in the Programme for Government and an issue the Green Party has long campaigned on.
Launching the White Paper, Minister O’Gorman said:
“I’m absolutely committed to creating an international protection and support service that is caring, person-centred and respects the dignity and human rights of all international protection applicants. We will end Direct Provision and immediately begin to create a new model that is grounded in human rights and integration.
“Ireland’s new International Protection Support Service will be run on a not-for-profit basis. It will serve the needs of people who need protection, supporting people to live independently and integrate into our communities across towns and cities.”
“This is welcome news and long overdue. Direct Provision has caused untold suffering and hardship for so many good people. We have been calling for change for years and this feels now like the start of a new process that will put human dignity and rights at the forefront of the changes needed.” Councillor Oliver Moran.
“As a local councillor for the electoral area that includes the Kinsale Road Reception Centre, I am delighted that a new, better and more humane system, requiring better facilities, is to be put in place.” Councillor Dan Boyle.
“This is very welcome and I applaud the many activists who have worked towards the ending of Direct Provision under very difficult circumstances. I hope there is full engagement with groups like MASI, Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland.” Councillor Colette Finn.
The White Paper details a two-phased approach to accommodating International Protection applicants. In Phase One, the needs of individual applicants will be identified, and will be accommodated in a Reception and Integration Centre for no more than four months. There will be a focus on integration, with access to wraparound supports including healthcare, education, language, and employment.
For those still awaiting a decision after four months, Phase Two will offer community-based accommodation across Ireland, providing families with their own door and single people with their own room, providing the privacy and independence so many were not afforded over the past two decades. These measures will allow people to live independently and integrate into their communities, should they receive a positive decision on their application for international protection.
Minister O’Brien said:
“The White Paper sees a radical shift in government policy in that it is now stated policy that integration supports for international protection applicants kick in from day one. This is strong acknowledgement of asylum seekers humanity and human rights. My Department will have a key role to play in encouraging and supporting asylum seekers integration at a community level. Local Development Companies, Public Participation Networks and Volunteering Centres will have key roles to play along with national NGOs and Approved Housing Bodies – so it’s a big day for the Community and Voluntary sector who played a big role in getting us to this point.”