Amnesty launching asylum seekers campaign

Posted on: 8th September, 2014

Category: News

Contributor: West Cork People

The Clonakilty Group of Amnesty International will play its part in a campaign to improve the lot of asylum seekers in this country with a petition signing in the Clonakilty market on Friday, September 19. Under the scheme known as ‘Direct Provision’, asylum seekers are accommodated in 34 centres throughout the country. The system was set up to provide them with food and a roof over their heads, during the six months it was assumed it would take to process their applications for refugee status. The reality has proved very different says Joy Larkcom.

There are currently over 4000 asylum seekers in the centres, the average waiting time is about three years, but considerable numbers have been in the system for over seven and up to 10 years.

The effect on family life is almost impossible to imagine. The conditions are often crowded, with small families in a single room, or even sharing with others. Privacy is limited. Asylum seekers are not allowed to work; Ireland being the only EU country, which denies them the right to work after six months in the country. Some are highly qualified, but have to rely on the weekly allowance of €19.10 for an adult and €9.60 for a child, which leaves little scope for leading ‘normal life’. They are unable to cook for themselves. Children go to local schools, but are not entitled to free third level education. At this stage they are treated as ‘overseas students’ so face fees of €10,000 or upwards. They are not entitled to regular social welfare. On top of these restrictions, they live with the constant uncertainty of their fate, and the very real fear of not being granted refugee status and being deported at short notice.

While this is a national issue — Ireland has been criticised by a UN committee for the operation of its direct provision system — it is also a local issue. Approximately 100 people live in ‘The Lodge’ in Clonakilty, some for over seven years.  Clonakilty residents may have noticed the green and colourful shoots, which have recently appeared in the Friends Community Garden, on a plot of land opposite the Lodge. John Loughnan, former mayor of Clonakilty who has played a key role in establishing the garden, feels very strongly that with the current system, the refugees lead lives with no purpose and cannot fulfill their human potential. Thinking of all the Irish who have emigrated, he says “It is not Christian to allow this to happen: it is our duty to get involved”.

One reason for the intolerable length of time spent in Direct Provision is the complex process of applying for asylum. It was recently described in the Irish Times as ‘a labyrinthe system of appeal and review mechanism’. Welcome news is that the newly appointed Minister of Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD has recently announced the appointment a working group to review the claims procedure for asylum seekers.

To ensure this leads to a positive outcome, Amnesty International are calling on the Irish Government to, without delay, establish single procedure for assessing asylum claims; to ensure that conditions in the centre are an appropriate environment for families and children and to establish an independent complaints procedure for those in the centres.

The Clonakilty Amnesty group is inviting members of the Lodge community, the Mayor and the Mayor Council, to support the launch of its petition on September 19, and it is hoped that many members of the public will strengthen the case by becoming involved.

For further information contact Chairperson Sue Higgins, 023 8845056. 

Latest News Articles:

Christmas on the beat
Clonakilty town aims to get snowed under with the return of the Clonakilty Christmas Express
On call for Christmas
Have your say in shaping the future of Clonakilty
Dursey Island project passes first phase in Failte Ireland’s Grant Scheme
Minister Ring visits superb rural initiatives in West Cork
West Cork farms celebrated at Milk Awards
Issue of childcare a major concern for 72 per cent of female entrepreneurs
Rain, slurry deadlines and housing
Celtic Ross Hotel awarded AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence

Join us on Facebook

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Garda Síochána - Cork, Kerry & Limerick - Southern Region's photo. ... See MoreSee Less

REMINDER: An Garda Siochana are hosting a Retail Crime Prevention Meeting, to be held at 7pm on Wednesday 29th November 2017. This meeting will be held in the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon. This meeting is one of a series being held across the West Cork Garda Division, in association with Operation Thor, the Garda National Anti-Crime Strategy. The purpose of the meeting is to increase the cooperation between Gardai and the retail sector, ensuring that the current low levels of crime in the locality extends past the busy approaching Christmas season. The meeting will be addressed by the local Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Ian O’ Callaghan, who will discuss burglary prevention, shoplifting, fraud, and cybercrime. There will be a particular focus on cash handling and cash exposure of businesses in the run up to the Christmas shopping period. All aspects of commercial crime will be discussed, and we would strongly urge all businesses to make a special effort to attend on the evening.

28th November, 2017  ·  

TRADING THROUGH BREXIT - BREXIT BRIEFING SERIES LAUNCHED
Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade Simon Coveney T.D. is hosting a number of Brexit Breakfast Briefings in Cork in the coming weeks. The first in the series takes place on Monday, 4 December at the Carrigaline Court Hotel at 7:30am until 9am. Business owners, retailers and those involved in tourism in the region are invited to attend the free briefing, which will see Minister Coveney providing an update on Brexit negotiations, his insights and also practical ways to begin preparing for Brexit.

The Brexit Breakfast information events are free of charge and all are welcome to attend, however registration is required by emailing simon.coveney@oir.ie or call 021 4374200
... See MoreSee Less

27th November, 2017  ·  

Keep an eye out for Croíúil Trad group
from Rosscarbery and the Munster Champions U-12 Ceili Band from Bandon, both performing on next weekend's The Late Late Toy Show, airing on Friday, December 1 on RTÉ One at 9.35pm.
... See MoreSee Less

27th November, 2017  ·  

Meet Santa and his elves, penguins and polar bears at Leapland, which returns to Leap Village on December 2. A magical experience for little ones who can visit from Mon-Fri 5pm-8pm and Sat-Sun 12pm-8pm. Call 087 7427016 for enquiries. ... See MoreSee Less

21st November, 2017  ·  

And here's our lucky winner Sandra picking up her voucher from Warren Allen this morning from the lovely model Maebh. Happy shopping Sandra! ... See MoreSee Less

21st November, 2017  ·  

Jump to:

Top