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Government to end Direct Provision by 2024, but work remains to improve life for residents – Carroll MacNeill

26th February 2021 - Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, TD

The Government commitment to close all Direct Provision centres by 2024 marks significant progress in creating a more humane and progressive asylum system, but more work remains to be done, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Fine Gael Spokesperson for Equality Jennifer Carroll MacNeill welcomed today’s announcement that a new International Protection Support Service will replace the current Direct Provision system in Ireland.

Speaking about the publication of the Government’s White Paper on Ending Direct Provision, Deputy Carroll MacNeill said “I’ve spoken with many residents of Direct Provision centres over the past year and I hope that today’s development will be welcomed by those who have lived the reality of our current system.

“From meeting with organisations such as Abolish Direct Provision and the Irish Refugee Council, I know that activists and groups have campaigned tirelessly for years to bring about a change in the asylum process.

“The White Paper sets out how this change will happen over the next few years, as it details the steps Government will take to end Direct Provision and replace it with a new system.

“I’m pleased to see that this system will afford people basic privileges such as the entitlement to open a bank account and apply for an Irish drivers’ licence, but these rights are not being offered to asylum seekers at the moment.

“I have previously written to Ministers Ryan, McEntee and O’Gorman to highlight the issue of drivers’ licences and I have asked that they work to navigate any issues that are in the way of allowing asylum seekers to access licences. This would afford people access to greater freedom, in particular residents of centres in isolated areas.

“An urgent review to ensure that school transport needs are met for parents of young children is also needed. I recently spoke with one mother who is walking her young children to school on narrow country roads, as she doesn’t have access to suitable transport.

“We are on the path to a fairer and more compassionate system, but work remains to be done.

“We still need to focus on resolving various issues to help people with obvious practicalities in their lives that affect everyone, whether they or not they are in the Direct Provision system,” Deputy Carroll MacNeill concluded.


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