Galway hostel protests symptomatic of a broken system say the Irish Refugee Council and the Galway Refugee Support Group

Posted On: 22 September 2011

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Recent protests over conditions in Galway hostels are symptomatic of the fact that Direct Provision is an inhumane and flawed system according to the Irish Refugee Council (IRC) and the Galway Refugee Support Group.

Sue Conlan, Chief Executive of the IRC, says: “The Direct Provision system has an unacceptable human and financial cost. Asylum seekers live in institutional accommodation where they have no control over meals, can be moved without consultation and are denied access to employment, adult education or training.  Parents and school-going children live and sleep in one room; single people share with strangers.  Depression and chronic ill health are common.

“It is no exaggeration to liken these centres to open prisons.”

There have been two separate protests over conditions by asylum seekers in Galway hostels in the last two weeks.

Triona Nic Giolla Choille, Director of the Galway Refugee Support Group, says: “The participants in yesterday’s demonstration have spent years in the process; many are more than 3 years waiting, waiting, waiting with no end in sight to their incarceration in Direct Provision. There are no opportunities for them to improve themselves and they wait, on the margins of Galway society, for a decision which might free them from this sentence. At least prisoners know when their sentence might end.”



Further information

Sharon Waters, Communications Officer, Irish Refugee Council      085 1332502


  • Sue Conlan and Triona Nic Giolla Choille are available for interview.
  • Many of the Direct Provision centres, including the two which were the subject of the Galway protest, are former tourist accommodation.  Contracts for the running of Direct Provision accommodation centres have proved to be a ‘cash cow’ for property owners who find a new use for struggling tourist businesses. 
  • Asylum seekers receive €19.10 per week.  This amount has not been increased in over a decade.
  • According to the Reception and Integration Agency’s 2010 Annual Report the length of time spent in Direct Provision (DP) is increasing with almost 45% of residents in DP for 3 or more years. (RIA Annual Report 2010, available at
  • In 2010, the cost of DP €79.1 million, down from €86.5 million in 2009 (Ibid).