Spotlight on Direct Provision
Liam Thornton, “Spotlight on Direct Provision” in Children's Rights Alliance (eds). Making Rights Real for Children: A Children's Rights Audit of Irish Law (Dublin: CRA, 2015), pp.124-130.
7 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2015
Date Written: July 31, 2015
Direct provision is the phrase used to describe the system Ireland utilises to provide minimum supports to those claiming refugee, subsidiary protection and/or leave to remain. Within direct provision, asylum seekers are provided with bed and board, along with a weekly allowance. Accommodation is provided by the Reception and Integration Agency, a sub-unit of the Department of Justice and Equality. The weekly allowance, known as direct provision allowance, is paid by the Department of Social Protection. Adult asylum seekers are entitled to a direct provision allowance rate of €19.10 per week, while the payment for dependent children is €9.60 per week. This rate of payment has not increased since 2000. In June 2015, the Working Group Report on the Protection System and Direct Provision (McMahon Report) recommended an increase in direct provision allowance for adults and children. It is recommended that the adult rate to increase to €38.74 and child rate to €29.80 per week (qualifying child allowance rate under Supplementary Welfare Allowance).
Asylum seekers, while having authorised presence in the State, are not entitled to any other social welfare payment (including child benefit) and cannot seek or enter employment, on pain of criminal conviction. A number of other supports are provided to asylum seekers, including education up to leaving certificate level (if person is of an appropriate age) and entitlement to a medical card. Since May 2009, asylum seekers have been definitively disentitled to any other social security/welfare payment, other than direct provision allowance, as asylum seekers are legally barred from gaining habitual residence in Ireland. At the end of January 2015, there were 1,482 children resident in direct provision accommodation as part of a family unit. While figures for length of time children remain in direct provision accommodation are not provided, given the fact that the average length of stay within accommodation centres is generally 48 months (4 years), this significantly impacts on the rights of the child.
Keywords: Irish Studies, Constitutional Law, European Immigration and Asylum Law, Asylum seekers, Irish Law, Convention on the Rights of the Child, Asylum Seekers and Refugees
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