Developing Crisis in Direct Provision, move the vulnerable out!

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Developing Crisis in Direct Provision

The Cork City of Sanctuary Movement is calling on the Departments of Justice and Health to urgently address the fast-developing crisis in Direct Provision Centres across the country.

It would be difficult to design a more perfect site for infectious disease transmission than that of Direct Provision Centres. From reports from residents within the Centres and other involved parties, the responses by both the Centres and the Departments are totally inadequate, and if continued, will result in a catastrophic situation developing. Unless this is addressed immediately, the consequences will be extremely detrimental for the asylum-seeking population, and this, in turn, will act as a vector to other communities in their locale.

The Cork City of Sanctuary Movement believes that at a minimum, all of the following actions will be necessary to address this: 

  • ·         All immune-compromised or otherwise vulnerable people, as detailed by the HSE, must be immediately provided with alternative accommodation which addresses these vulnerabilities in the safest ways possible. People must be given the opportunity now to declare such vulnerabilities while maintaining confidentiality.
  • ·         Testing of all residents must take place immediately, as they have been declared as a priority population by the HSE

·         All families with children must be provided with their own, fully separate accommodation.

  • ·         All accommodation must include en-suite bathrooms and cooking facilities, and these people must also be provided with sufficient funds to allow them to cater and care for themselves, by extending to them the COVID-19 welfare allowances that are now in place.
  • ·         All healthy people without families must be provided with en-suite single-room, own-door type accommodation. If this doesn’t include cooking facilities, then meals must be brought to their rooms.
  • ·         All people known to have COVID19 must immediately be relocated to places where they can self-isolate, and subsequently be provided with own-door accommodation.
  • ·         Direct Provision residents that are currently working, which includes health-care workers, shop-assistants working in the front line etc., must be provided with alternative accommodation outside of Direct Provision. This will act as a protection both to those that they work and engage with, and also to those who remain within Direct Provision.
  • The Department of Justice state that not every person in Direct Provision will get a single room. It is not necessary to provide a single room in all cases. Families, a significant cohort within Direct Provision, will continue to share rooms and space.But shared facilities are accepted as vectors of COVID-19 and place people in grave danger.

Strong leadership and innovation were shown by Homeless Dublin, who have demonstrated that through a properly targeted approach, hundreds of appropriate sites of accommodation were found in a very short period of time. We believe that if a similar approach were adopted countrywide for asylum seekers, then the needs outlined above can be attained, and the approaching catastrophe can be avoided, or at least mitigated. There is an urgent need for immediate action on this by those with responsibility for residents in Direct Provision, the Department of Justice. This action will ensure the safety, welfare and very lives of residents of Direct Provision Centres, and of all our communities