It has been revealed that a Direct Provision Centre is to open in Wicklow Town.
A number of Wicklow Sinn Féin public representatives have voiced serious concerns regarding plans from the Reception and Integration Agency to extend the Direct Provision system and open a new accommodation centre in the Grand Hotel in Wicklow Town. They describe Direct Provision as “basic denial of human rights” and have called for the system to be “dismantled”.
Speaking after receiving news that it has been proposed by the Reception and Integration Agency to open a new Direct Provision accommodation centre in the Grand Hotel, Wicklow Town, Sinn Féin TD John Brady said “I am deeply concerned that rather than trying to dismantle the shameful and totally unacceptable Direct Provision system, this government is expanding the number of centres that are currently operated.”
“Direct Provision is incarceration of innocent people, most of whom are at the most vulnerable points in their lives. We hear daily more stories of cramped, hostile and sometimes dangerous conditions within these centres. The average stay in Direct Provision is 2-3 years with many staying much longer. For the Department to open another centre in the Grand Hotel in Wicklow Town in the midst of public outrage at the system is to show utter contempt for public opinion and refugees rights alike.”
Muireann Dalton who is the Sinn Féin representative for Wicklow Town said “There are 35 accommodation centres operated across the State and the plan to open a new centre in the Grand Hotel in Wicklow Town is a retrograde step and it reflects an attitude which in previous years created the dreadful Magdalene laundries and the industrial schools.”
“People seeking asylum are welcome in County Wicklow. Our party policy is to end Direct Provision and to provide more humane, human rights based approach to supporting refugees. The department’s latest move on this is in stark contrast to this position. Those with responsibility must deliver for those seeking refuge in our County.”
Bray Sinn Féin representative and member of the North Wicklow says No to Direct Provision group, Grace McManus said “Direct Provision is often called the Magdalene Laundries of our time and with good reason.Centres are often referred to as ‘holding camps’ and ‘sites of deportability’. Similarly, the Free Legal Advice Centre states that these privately owned centres, administered by this Government, constitute a ‘direct provision industry’, which makes a profit on direct provision.
“It’s a privatised system, initiated by Fianna Fáil, run by highly profitable private companies making over €50m a year. There remains no accountability or transparency and no clear process of tendering for these centres. There are no support services or expertise amongst staff working on sites.
Deputy Brady concluded “The system of Direct Provision is a basic denial of human rights. The system has been in place for 17 years. It was originally intended to accommodate asylum seekers for six months, but the reality is that many people have had to grow up in Direct Provision.”
“The International Protection Act which was meant to solve this catastrophic system appears now to have been nothing but a Trojan horse. It has put Direct Provision on a permanent footing. Direct Provision must be scrapped. There are other models which can be looked at and which NGO’s such as the Irish Refugee Council, Doras Luimní, and Nasc have been proposing. We need to introduce a new system which treats people humanely; a system we can be proud of rather than feel shameful of.”
“The opening of a new Direct Provision centre in Wicklow Town will not serve the vulnerable people arriving in Ireland seeking International protection, nor will it serve the recently launched Wicklow tourism strategy. The only people it does serve are those private entities making millions out of this system and it needs to be scrapped.”