Government urged to end direct provision for asylum seekers

Rally against racism hears mental health of children and adults suffers in hostels

Noma Maye, a former asylum seeker, told a rally in Cork   that asylum seekers living in direct provision in Ireland often suffer from depression as they are often living in cramped conditions with little control over their lives and children inevitably suffer in confined situations. Photograph: The Irish Times

Noma Maye, a former asylum seeker, told a rally in Cork that asylum seekers living in direct provision in Ireland often suffer from depression as they are often living in cramped conditions with little control over their lives and children inevitably suffer in confined situations. Photograph: The Irish Times

Sun, Mar 23, 2014, 10:05

The Government has been urged to end the direct provision of hostel accommodation for asylum seekers because the system is having a detrimental effect on the mental health of adults and children.

Noma Maye, a former asylum seeker, told a rally in Cork yesterday to mark World Anti-Racism Day that asylum seekers living in direct provision often suffer from depression as they are often living in cramped conditions with little control over their lives and children inevitably suffer in confined situations.

“If the State cares so much for children, why are they allowed live in such inappropriate conditions - no one is illegal in any country - this is a free world especially for children and children have a right to grow up in a normal environment,” said Ms Maye, to loud applause.

The rally which was organised by a number of groups and attended by around 100 people who marched through Cork city centre also heard from Muslim, Ali Hamou who urged people not to look beyond the stereotyping of Muslims by many in the media and politics.

“Know me before you judge me - come and talk to me at the Cork Islamic Cultural Centre - I was treated really well in this society since I came to Ireland 13 years ago and I know Irish people are really good but the media and some other parties are vilifying us,” he said.

“My message to every Irishman and woman here in Cork or anywhere - come talk to us, come and have a cup of tea with me and you’ll find that I am just like you - people should not generalise about Muslims - no more than they should generalise about any group.”

Brigid Quilligan of the Irish Traveller Movement said everyone, whether Travellers, Roma, asylum seekers or members of the Islamic faith, were entitled to the same basic human rights.

She condemned what she said was “State racism” towards Travellers. She instanced the recent rounding-up of horses in Cork by the local authorities and gardaí as an attack on Traveller culture and she urged people to ask candidates in the forthcoming local and European elections to outline their position on Travellers’s rights issues.

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