Minister for Children, Disabilities, Equality and Integration Roderic O’Gorman has pledged to end Direct Provision as part of the new Government.
In an interview with the Irish Times, O’Gorman promised rapid changes to the current system “within the lifespan of this government.” As he outlined, the aim is to ensure a shorter time period before people in Direct Provision are eligible to work, better training for staff in these centres, and the availability of mental health support services.
O’Gorman detailed that the support from local communities will be crucial following the end of Direct Provision. He said, “Engage early, engage accurately and engage comprehensively. The earlier you start speaking to people, the more information you give them and the more correct that information is, the less chance you have for far-right groups to spread malicious lies.”
Following a commitment to ending Direct Provision as part of the Programme for Government deal between Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Greens, activists cautioned that this will not be a “cure-all.” The Irish Refugee Council said, “There has been previous false dawns however and the implementation will be crucial. Disentangling ourselves from a 20 year-old system that currently accommodates 7,700 people across 84 locations is a huge, but essential, challenge.”
The newly appointed Minister for Children, Disabilities, Equality and Integration seeks to remove the “meanness” from the inhuman system and ensure that people can live in a more dignified way. He also stated that the Government should be “a bit more outspoken about the quiet dictators who through their actions and repression of human rights in their own countries are generating asylum seekers.”
O’Gorman further spoke on the necessity for implementing robust Hate Crime legislation and promoting greater diversity among An Garda Síochána. He shared, “I think it’s absolutely essential, particularly in the context of Black Lives Matter, for gardaí to look like the communities they police. We see from other countries if a gap grows up in that trust … that creates the potential for trouble in the future.”
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