Launch of ‘Tight Spaces’ – An Educational Resource on Direct Provision Written by Young People to Bring Attention to the Experience of Direct Provision.

‘Tight Spaces’ gives insight into the treacherous journeys of these resilient young people in search of safety and their experiences in Ireland’s international protection system. It aims to raise awareness of Ireland’s Direct Provision system and intends to bridge the gap in knowledge for young people in Ireland on this topic. It has been created for use in schools and youth groups. It encourages readers to connect with the topic of Direct Provision, explore it critically, and work towards taking action to build solidarity and create change. The resource states: 

“They (young people) spoke about how a person may often need to embark on a dangerous and harrowing journey to reach a safe place. This journey may involve a multitude of ‘Tight Spaces’ - packing belongings into a bag, a boat, lorry, sleeping bags.”

“Then when a person arrives into Direct Provision they may, unfortunately, find themselves within a tight space of cramped living conditions,” adding, “Due to the injustices embedded within this system, ‘Tight Spaces’ also represents the mental anguish that may be experienced, feelings of an individual’s world being shrunk, horizons being reduced, a lack of freedom and agency, and restricted opportunities.”

The resource highlights the challenges of Ireland’s Direct Provision system through the eyes of young people; including crowding which takes away their privacy and sense of safety, lack of culturally appropriate food, inability to meet basic needs from the inadequate state welfare payments, limited access to education and employment opportunities as well as social isolation in instances where centres are situated in remote areas.

The resource was created with funding from Concern Worldwide, the National Youth Council of Ireland, and Irish Aid.

Download Tight Spaces

The young people felt strongly that creating understanding is the first step towards building solidarity. The intention is that individuals and groups who engage with Tight Spaces will be inspired to find ways of contributing to the change they hope for.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Caroline Conroy, and Minister of State at the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Joe O’Brien, attended the event.

Below are powerful quotes from some of the young people who participated in the ‘Tight Spaces’ project:

"I wanted to create a safe space for young people to be able to share where they come from. I didn't have that when I was living in Direct Provision"-Nike Monisola Awoyemi.

"For me, it was the right thing to do. It is now that we can shape the future, and be a voice for the voiceless. I have lived experience of this system and feel that I have an obligation to create a change. It was also very encouraging to work with other young people who did not live in Direct Provision but recognised the injustice in it and wanted to work towards creating change also"-Abdulai Mansaray.

"I wanted to raise awareness of Direct Provision and to create a booklet that will educate people about what is happening in their surroundings and to encourage integration and a sense of welcoming"-Marwa Zamir.

IRC CEO Nick Henderson said,

The power of change is with young people. More than ever, we need you. We need to stand together. This energy, positivity, ambition and connectivity is needed in the coming weeks and months. Let’s cherish it.”

Notes for editors

  • Download Tight Spaces here.
  • ARD Youth Project is situated in ARD Family Resource Centre in Galway. Within ARD Youth Project, there is a group called Global Citizenship. This group of committed, creative and motivated teenagers explores global justice issues together. To learn more about ARD Youth Project, please visit their Instagram Page @ARDYouthProject.
  • IRC and ARD Youth Projects members collaborated on this project. Motivated to take action together and to support their peers seeking international protection in Ireland, they worked together over 8 months, building connections, sharing stories and learning from one another.
  • Direct Provision (DP) was established in Ireland in 2000 by the State to provide accommodation and basic needs to people seeking international protection. Direct Provision centres are comprised of hostels, hotels, and other accommodation rented by the Government from private providers. The system was due to be phased out by 2024, but the Government has said it can no longer meet the promise. IRC is a founding member of the coalition to end Direct Provision, Stand Against Direct Provision and has produced a report with practical alternatives to phase out the system.

For more information or interview requests, contact:

Wendy Muperi (IRC Communications Officer)

Email: [email protected]

Download Tight Spaces