How should Ireland treat asylum seekers?

Opinion: Government needs to address UN human rights concerns

From left, Natasha, Minahil and Yolanda who live in Athlone Direct Provision Centre at Lissywollen, just outside the town. They were among those interviewed for The Irish Times series Lives in Limbo. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / THE IRISH TIMES

From left, Natasha, Minahil and Yolanda who live in Athlone Direct Provision Centre at Lissywollen, just outside the town. They were among those interviewed for The Irish Times series Lives in Limbo. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / THE IRISH TIMES

Significant concerns about the system for treating asylum seekers in Ireland have existed throughout the entire period direct provision has operated, coming from a range of different quarters: from asylum seekers, a retired Supreme Court judge, former ombudsman Emily O’Reilly, special rapporteur for children Geoffery Shannon and a wide variety politicians and civil society organisations. These have been highlighted in the current Irish Times series Lives in Limbo.

In the last number of weeks there has been increased Government focus on how asylum seekers in the Republic are treated for the duration of their asylum and/or protection claim. Currently not permitted to seek or enter employment, asylum seekers are entitled to full bed-and-board communal accommodation and an allowance of €19.10 a week per adult and €9.60 a week per child.

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