For immediate release: Nasc condemns proposed eviction of asylum seekers from direct provision

Wed, September 20, 2017

Nasc strongly condemns recent actions taken by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of the Department of Justice, to issue letters to certain asylum seekers that they must vacate direct provision.

“In the midst of a full-scale housing crisis, the Department of Justice is actively seeking to make asylum seekers homeless and destitute. It is cruel and inhumane,” states Nasc’s Legal Services Manager Fiona Hurley.

“It has come to Nasc’s attention this week that RIA is issuing letters to certain single, male asylum seekers who are on deportation orders, that they must vacate direct provision by a certain date,” continues Ms Hurley.

“Several of those who have presented to Nasc with this letter in the last several days have been on deportation orders for several years, which have not been effected by the State. Often from countries that Ireland could not deport to, such as Palestine and Somalia.”

“In addition, RIA is also now refusing readmission requests from people who are on deportation orders, who are already homeless and living on the streets. We are currently working with several people in this situation,” Ms Hurley notes.

The letter being issued to residents states that ‘the Reception and Integration Agency provides accommodation to those persons who are in the protection process. RIA has no role in the provision of accommodation to persons once a decision has been made on their application’.

Ms Hurley continues, “Up until now, RIA has housed asylum seekers on deportation orders – some for upwards of seven or more years. This letter shows a catastrophic shift in policy, which will actively make those on deportation orders that have not been effected by the State at severe risk of homelessness and destitution.”

It has been the Department of Justice’s position up until this time, that Direct Provision was established to ensure that asylum seekers would not be destitute or homeless in the State. Asylum seekers – including those on deportation orders – have no entitlements to social welfare, so they cannot access homeless services. In addition, once a person vacates the direct provision system, they are no longer entitled to the €21.60 per week Direct Provision Allowance, and they currently have no right to work.

“These people will be left entirely destitute, without access to services or housing,” Ms Hurley states. “Across the board, people who are pushed into homelessness have difficulties accessing services. Now imagine a scenario where you have a person without a residency permission, without entitlement to supports, without even any identity documents, who can’t work and cannot return to their country of origin, on the streets because the State has decided it is no longer willing to support them.”

“It is one of the most inhumane actions we have ever seen come out of the Department of Justice,” states Ms. Hurley. “Whether they like it or not, the Department has a duty of care, to provide housing to people who have claimed asylum and who seek accommodation from it until such time as those people are either granted asylum or subsidiary protection, granted leave to remain or leave the country voluntarily or by deportation.”

“RIA must immediately cease issuing these letters, and clarify their duty of care to people who have claimed asylum who are still residing in the State.”

ENDS.

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