A Statement from the Irish Refugee Council about the handing of the burial of Sylva Tukula

Posted On: 7 June 2019

Media Statement, 7 June 2019

“The Irish Refugee Council would like to again extend our deepest sympathies to the friends of Sylva Tukula. We now call for an urgent review of how deaths in Direct Provision are handled by the State to ensure dignity after death, openness and transparency.  It is vital that there are clear processes in place, a transparent and open investigation of the circumstances, and clear communication channels between the State and friends and residents of Direct Provision centres.

Given the nature of Direct Provision, it is particularly important that there is an open investigation by an independent inspectorate to identify the facts and circumstances surrounding a death and to identify any shortcomings or failings which may have occurred. This is something which happens routinely where there is a death in custody. It is also important that friends, family, and other residents in the centre are adequately supported and are kept informed at all stages, including regarding burial arrangements.

The Reception and Integration Agency, the Coroner Service and An Garda Síochána are all under the aegis of the Department of Justice and Equality. This demonstrates the need for state agencies under that Department to work better together and have clear policies in place to ensure this never happens again.”

It is heart-breaking for the friends of Sylva to learn of her burial after it has happened. When responsibility shifts between agencies at State level, irreparable mistakes are made. A clear process must urgently put in place which has the dignity of the person and the welfare of friends and family as its primary goal.”

END