Landmark Day for Ending of Direct Provision
Labour spokesperson on Equality and Integration Senator Ivana Bacik has welcomed the White Paper on Ending Direct Provision published today, and has welcomed the positive proposals as representing substantive steps towards a more progressive international protection policy.
The ‘how’ of implementation will be key, and Senator Bacik has made clear that Labour will engage constructively with the Government to ensure that the positive measures outlined in the Day Report are brought into effect without delay.
Senator Bacik said:
“This is a really important piece of work and I want to commend Minister O’Gorman on the publication of the White Paper to progress the dismantling of the Direct Provision system. Labour will work with the Minister and his Department to work to fulfil the recommendations laid out in the Day Report and to ensure that the steps for implementation of those recommendations outlined in the White Paper are carried out without delay. In doing so, we should be ambitious in bringing about the introduction of a progressive international protection system.
“We in the Labour Party now call on the Government to work without delay to take immediate measures to improve the system in the short term, pending full implementation of the Day Report and White Paper. The year by year breakdown published by the Minister needs greater clarity in setting out the specific plans for 2021; in particular, we need clarity on the measurable goals for this year.
“For example, the White Paper provides that all asylum seekers will be entitled to open a bank account and to seek a driving licence, but we need to see a target date set for both of these measures to come into effect. Both measures should be introduced immediately; there is no obstacle to this, and it would represent a huge positive step for those living in Direct Provision.
“De-congregating accommodation for those individuals and families currently living in Direct Provision after 20 years of institutionalisation is the right thing to do. Today marks an important day in the campaign for progressive change within our international protection process. I look forward to engaging over the months ahead with civil society groups so as to ensure that the voices of asylum seekers are prioritised in this process.”