Bishop criticises State ‘hesitancy’ over ending direct provision

Denis Nulty says 2024 deadline for closing ‘cold and unacceptable system’ too far away

A Catholic bishop has called on the Government to accelerate the ending of direct provision and for improvements in the time it takes to process asylum applications. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

A Catholic bishop has called on the Government to accelerate the ending of direct provision and for improvements in the time it takes to process asylum applications. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

A Catholic bishop has called on the Government to accelerate the ending of direct provision and for improvements in the time it takes to process asylum applications.

Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Denis Nulty said that “at a State level, there seems to be a hesitancy to progress to make the lives of refugees and migrants safer, and to accelerate their integration”.

He referred to evidence given to the Oireachtas Committee on Public Petitions on September 16th, which he said showed the processing of applications for international protection or asylum was “taking an unduly long time, with more than 5,000 people in the system and the median time to get a decision being over two years”.

Bishop Nulty, chair of the Catholic Bishops’ Commission for Pastoral Care, said it was “incumbent on those in authority to ensure that all is done to improve the lives of those coming to our shores for refuge or for work.

“Government must honour its commitment to take in refugees and to end the desperate system of direct provision centres. Even the 2024 deadline for the ending of this cold and unacceptable system is too far away,” he said.

Want to contribute

Those who come to Ireland “as refugees and migrants are people who can, and want to, contribute to our country. Society must honestly ask itself: ‘why are we preventing refugees and migrants from offering their gifts and talents to help build up the wider community?’ This preventative approach denies our society the benefit of diversity, cultural exchange and progress.

“We in Ireland have seen many examples of how refugees and migrants have been welcomed and cared for by our communities – most recently made visible by the arrival of refugees from Afghanistan, images which moved the world in recent months.”

Bishop Nulty said a great many of those in the system were “being cared for and supported by Catholic agencies and organisations at a local and national level.

“This is what an Ireland of welcomes is meant to be. Crucially, the State holds the central and lead role in this regard,” he said.