The treatment of asylum seekers in Direct Provision undermines the integrity of the asylum system, says Irish Refugee Council

Posted On: 10 December 2013

Media Release: 10th December 2013

The treatment of asylum seekers in Direct Provision undermines the integrity of the asylum system, says Irish Refugee Council

The Irish Refugee Council today launched a document which sets out the framework for a new reception system for asylum seekers. The proposals address the human and financial cost of Direct Provision which have long been identified as cause for concern.

Sue Conlan, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, said “The reception of asylum seekers is an integral part of Ireland’s obligations under the Refugee Convention.  The document we have launched today is intended to assist those interested in Ireland’s reputation and the welfare of refugees in working towards a system that fulfills those obligations.”

The document sets out the elements of a reception system including support for the family, the protection of children and the identification and support of vulnerable individuals.

Greg Straton, Director of SPIRASI and speaker at today’s launch, said ” Whilst victims of torture are accommodated in direct provision it isn’t possible for a full rehabilitation to take place.  They cannot rightfully resume their lives whilst they are kept powerless and vulnerable, SPIRASI can do little more than assist victims by providing coping mechanisms and strategies.”

Senator Jillian van Turnhout stood in for Mrs. Justice Catherine McGuinness to launch the document and on behalf of Mrs. Justice McGuinness said “We cannot continue to ignore the impact of Direct Provision on children who are growing up in an environment where the risk is that they fail to thrive, with unknown consequences for the future. I commend this document to the authorities and would invite them to engage with all interested parties in working towards an alternative system that we can all be proud of.”




For more information contact Caroline Reid 085 858 5510 /

Notes to the editor:

~ Sue Conlan, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, is available for interview

~ SPIRASI is an NGO that works with asylum seekers, refugees and other vulnerable migrants, with a special concern for victims of torture.  For more information go to

~ Direct Provision is the system of full board accommodation and dispersal of asylum seekers that was first introduced in April 2000.  Since that date, €655 million has been paid out between 2000 and 2010 to private businesses.  Over the last 13 years, the payments to asylum seekers themselves have remained at €19.10 per week per adult and €9.60 per week per child.

~ Ireland opted out of the Reception Conditions Directive, part of the Common European Asylum System, which provides for minimum standards in the support of those seeking asylum.

~ A review by the Reception and Integration Agency, a functional unit of the Irish Naturalisation  and Immigration Service of the Department of Justice, published in May 2010, concluded that Direct Provision was the best system available.  That review, together with the evidence about Direct Provision and examples of what exists in other EU countries, is examined in the document launched today by the IRC.