People that seek state protection in Ireland under international law should not have to live in circumstances that contradict the government’s own health advice to people. Cramped overcrowding within direct provision is a long-standing and well-publicised issue that remains a source of day-to-day indignity for individuals and families, as well as having long term health concerns for residents young and old. Today we can add to that list the fear of direct provision being an immediate and present danger in the spread of the Covid-19.
Many people within the direct provision system may have underlying conditions that make contracting and transmission of Covid-19 an issue of serious public health within the direct provision system.
We call for immediate action to ensure that people seeking state protection have the ability to self-isolate where there is a fear of having contracted the virus and that living conditions enable the practising of physical distancing as demanded by both WHO and HSE advice to the population. We agree with the perspective of people living in direct provision themselves – as voiced through the Movement of Asylum Seekers Ireland (MASI) that this action can be best served through the ending of the direct provision system.