Data released to Meath West TD and Aontú Leader, Peadar Tóibín TD, shows that twenty-nine people have died in the Direct Provision System since 2016, six died in 2020 and eight deaths occurred in 2021, this is the highest number of deaths in a single year, according to the data.
The Aontú party are calling for more transparency around deaths which occur within the system.
Tóibín told Meath Live, “The fact that nearly thirty people have died in Direct Provision over the past five years is very sad. I know of a number of asylum seekers who died by suicide in recent years. The high number of unaccompanied minors seeking international protection here is also striking. In 2020 some 82 children were referred to Tusla by direct provision centres. This represents about 4% of all children in direct provision. The number of children referred to Tusla from direct provision centres is higher than the number of referrals made by addiction counsellors”.
“While the government is seeking to end the direct provision system in the coming years, it is vital that appropriate controls are in place to alleviate the suffering being endured in these centres in the interim. We in Aontú are glad that the government have conceded to our request and are now recording properly the number of deaths in the system. It is shocking that it took so long to implement a reporting and recording process. The secrecy around the system has to end”.
“Last year Aontú wrote a letter to the Minister for Children, asking him to ensure that an annual report is published on the death rate in the system. All Aontú councillors and twenty other Oireachtas members signed the letter. In order to make sure that the human rights of those seeking asylum are being upheld and respected, we need full transparency, we need an annual report so that opposition TDs can scrutinise the system”, concluded Tóibín.
Data shown to Meath Live reveals that as of the 28th of November 2021, there are over 7,000 persons residing in Direct Provision, and 2,056 of that 7,000 figure consist of children.
Meath Live got in contact with Reuben Hambakachere from Cultúr Migrant Centre, located in Navan about this newly released data.
He told us “The deaths that I have witnessed or the bereaved families that I have talked to are all from Mosney Direct Provision Centre. We don’t have access to that information, only the TDs. I think the number of deaths that have occurred in Mosney, come up to eight now. Some of those deaths could have been avoided, they should have gotten the support that they needed such as medical support and mental health support”.
“There was a gentleman in 2016, he lived alone and died so lonely. We only found out about his death late in the day, nobody knew that he had died. If he was living in a community and getting the support that he needed, I don’t think the way things happened, they would have gone the same way”.
“As a migrant community we have a campaign that direct provision should be ended in its current form and we still continue to call for that, but we also want to see enough supports in place for bereaved families. I think in Mosney the management centre has done well in supporting families and their loved ones, but I think the government needs to do more now, as some of those deaths could have been avoided”.
“If those figures are correct that nearly thirty people have died in other centres, I am sure those deaths could have been avoided. Mosney has a medical centre on-site, but not everyone can access the services that they need. So, we need to look at how those medical and mental health services can be brought to the people” concluded Hambakachere.