Ombudsman’s report confirms fears about effects of policy on asylum seekers on families

Posted On: 12 June 2013

A recent report by the Ombudsman, ‘Appeal Overruled: A failure to Provide Basic Income for a Family Seeking Asylum’ on the failure of the HSE to implement a decision of the Social Welfare Appeals Office to grant Supplementary Welfare Allowance to a mother and her daughters confirms fears about the treatment of asylum seeking families says the Irish Refugee Council (IRC).  In this case, the decision to withhold the allowance resulted in extreme impoverishment of the family and the youngest daughter being obliged to remain in foster care.

Samantha Arnold, Children’s and Young Persons’ Office with the IRC, says: “This case reinforces the fact that the State’s policy on asylum seekers is damaging families.  The mother in this case was forced to move out of the State provided Direct Provision accommodation because of the negative impact it was having on her daughter’s mental health, only to face serious impoverishment and to be separated from her daughter thereby denying them a right to family life .

“Sadly this is not an unusual story.  The IRC raised concerns about  the impact of the Direct Provision system on children in our 2012 report State sanctioned child poverty and exclusion which the Government has refused to investigate and to which it has failed to respond.”


–         ENDS –

Media queries:


Sharon Waters                                  085 8585 510 /



  • The family in this case moved out of Direct Provision because of the unsuitability of the accommodation in light of the deteriorating mental health of the youngest daughter.   The girl was later hospitalised following a suicide attempt and was placed in voluntary care.  The family applied for supplementary welfare assistance to allow them to live with a friend but was refused.   On appeal to the Social Welfare Appeals Office the assistance was granted but a Superintendent Community Welfare Officer decided to pay only the weekly allowance provided to asylum seekers in Direct Provision, €19.10 per adult and €9.60 per child.  This was only corrected following the intervention of the Ombudsman’s Office.
  • The IRC’s report, State sanctioned child poverty and exclusion: the case of children in state accommodation for asylum seekers, is available at