A YEAR AGO, I wrote a column for TheJournal.ie about a little girl called “Deborah”. She was seven at the time and she had lived her entire life in Direct Provision.
Direct Provision gives asylum-seekers bed and board in often dire conditions and prohibits them from working. They are given €19.10 a week. Children get €9.60. We currently have 7,937 people in the system. A third of those are children; 55% have been here for five years, 20% of that for seven years or more.
Ireland has been warehousing asylum-seekers in Direct Provision since 2000. This was introduced as a temporary, six-month, solution at a time when asylum applications were 10,938. Applications peaked in 2002 at 11,600….
I would appreciate it if you took a look at the rest of my column here but I would warn you that anyone looking to recruit for an Irish Racist Party would need look no further than the comments section.
I would challenge some of the more spittle-flecked commenters to visit a Direct Provision Centre sometime and talk to the residents there. Their opinions of asylum-seekers might change when they meet kids with Irish accents who are living in misery.
I think it’s difficult to be hard-of heart when you meet the human face of suffering.
Unless, of course, you’re an actual racist who can’t see beyond the colour of that face.