Nasc, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre, have voiced strong concerns over letters sent from the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA), a subsidiary of the Department of Justice, telling certain asylum seekers that they must leave direct provision.
Fiona Hurley, Legal Services Manager of Nasc, which is based here in Cork, specified that the letters were being issued to unmarried male asylum seekers who are on deportation orders. Calling the letters “cruel and inhumane”, Ms Hurley continued: “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.”
Ms Hurley went on to say that until recently, the RIA had provided accommodation for asylum seekers on deportation orders, often for long periods of time. The issuing of the letters demonstrates a significant shift in policy, which ultimately will place those on deportation orders “at severe risk of homelessness and destitution.” Previously, the Department of Justice placed asylum seekers in direct provision to ensure this would not occur. As asylum seekers are not entitled to social welfare, they cannot make use of homeless services. Those issued the letters will also no longer receive the €21.60 weekly Direct Provision Allowance.
“These people will be left entirely destitute, without access to services or housing,” Ms Hurley reiterated. “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 cannot return to their country of origin, on the streets because the State has decided it is no longer willing to support them.”
“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.”