Woman found in Cork Direct Provision centre may have been dead for days

The resident of Ashbourne House in Glounthane was discovered in her room last Friday.

A Cork Direct Provision Centre - a building down the end of a driveway

The body of a woman found in a Direct Provision Centre in Cork may have lain in her room for over four days before she was discovered, according to fellow residents.

The 54 year-old South African woman, so far identified by her first name – ‘Paula’ – was found dead in her room on Friday. It was suggested that staff may have looked in on her twice over the days preceding, but concluded she was asleep.

Paula had reportedly not been in the centre long and had a son in Dublin. She was said to be working in a hotel and had only recently found out her asylum application was successful.

Her family had contacted her the previous weekend but since then hadn’t received a reply. The family then contacted the Cork Direct Provision Centre asking them to check on her – which is when it was discovered she had died.

The Abolish Direct Provision Campaign shared on social media that the centre had also recently seen residents go on hunger strike because of the food they were supplied.

A Garda spokesperson told the Cork Beo, “On Friday, 4th March, Gardaí attended a premises in Glounthane, Co Cork at 8pm where the body of a woman, 50’s, was discovered.

“The Coroner was notified and her body was removed to the mortuary at CUH for post-mortem. There were no reports of any foul play. A file will be prepared in accordance with the Coroners Act.”

In 2021 it was announced that the Direct Provision system in Ireland will be replaced by an international protection system – with all current centres to be closed down by 2024.

A Government White Paper detailed the phasing out of the controversial privatised system which has seen those involved housed in appalling conditions, left in limbo for years and saw vulnerable people placed in dangerous situations, including asylum seekers from the LGBTQ+ community.

At the time of the White Paper publication, Doras, the independent group working to protect and promote the rights of migrants in Ireland, shared, “The negative impact living in Direct Provision has on people has been repeatedly highlighted by NGOs, in academia, by members of the public, public representatives, and most importantly international protection applicants for almost 21 years now. It is good to see a Government finally recognising that and responding, but the real work starts now.”

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