Lives in Limbo: Life inside Direct Provision

 
In 2014 Carl O'Brien interviewed a large number of residents of Ireland's Direct Provision centres for the Irish Times series 'Lives in Limbo'. Here they share some of their insights, frustrations, and hopes for the future. Video: Bryan O'Brien

Asylum seekers are not allowed to work. They are not entitled to social welfare. And they are excluded from social housing and free third-level education.

Many asylum seekers in the State’s direct provision system spend years in conditions which most agree are damaging to their health, welfare and life-chances.

In all, more than 4,300 people, including 1,600 children, live in 34 accommodation centres spread across the State.

The centres, which include former hostels, hotels and a mobile home park, are run by private contractors who receive about €50 million in State funding annually.

The United Nations and  international human rights groups have heavily criticised the system.

Former Supreme Court judge Catherine McGuinness has predicted that a future government will end up publicly apologising for damage done by the direct provision system.

But the voices of asylum seekers are rarely heard.

Many are fearful that speaking out will damage their request for refugee status.

Their personal stories provide a rare insight into the impact of the system on these lives in limbo.

View the special series here: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/lives-in-limbo

This video also appears in:

How asylum became a business How asylum became a business

August 10, 2014Many of the companies providing shelter are large firms involved in the property, hospitality or catering business

More than 4,000 living in ‘direct provision’ system More than 4,000 living in ‘direct provision’ system

August 9, 2014‘Irish Times’ series explores the lives of these ostracised people who are barred from work and welfare

Overcrowding and  lack of facilities  in asylum centres reported Overcrowding and lack of facilities in asylum centres reported

August 9, 2014 Agency says every effort made to inspect 34 direct-provision centres three times a year

Social services alerted to 1,500 cases of young asylum seekers Social services alerted to 1,500 cases of young asylum seekers

August 9, 2014Evidence of sexualised behaviour, mental health issues and parents unable to cope in State system

Safety of children in direct provision flagged by report Safety of children in direct provision flagged by report

May 22, 2015Significant number of children exposed to violence, physical abuse and risk of injury

Princess Khumalo: ‘Direct provision does not define me’ Princess Khumalo: ‘Direct provision does not define me’

July 27, 2016A Zimbabwean woman in direct provision talks about a system that treats asylum seekers as ‘economic migrants, second-class nationalities and opportunists’

Dublin, Ennis, Cork, Kerry: my seven years in direct provision Dublin, Ennis, Cork, Kerry: my seven years in direct provision

August 10, 2016A former museum director, who was too afraid for his life to return to Sudan, describes the ‘inhuman situation’ of the direct provision system

Asylum seekers’ work ban unconstitutional, says Supreme Court Asylum seekers’ work ban unconstitutional, says Supreme Court

May 30, 2017Decision could have major implications for asylum seekers in Ireland

Ruling on asylum-seeker work to have big impact on Brexit talks Ruling on asylum-seeker work to have big impact on Brexit talks

May 31, 2017Department of Justice warns of threat to the Common Travel Area with UK

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