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20 years later Direct Provision, a temporary solution, continues – Ombudsman for Children

“Direct Provision was introduced as an emergency measure in 1999 and 20 years later it not only continues, but has been embedded as a permanent structure. The latest report from the Ombudsman on the Direct Provision system highlights the same issues we’ve seen before and again raises the question about the sustainability of this model” says Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon.

“I would like to commend Peter Tyndall and the Office of the Ombudsman on the publication of their latest update report on the Direct Provision System. My Office and the Office of the Ombudsman are the only organisations that provide independent oversight of the Direct Provision system so it is good to see the issues raised by residents being brought to public attention.

“While we can, and will, do everything we can to raise awareness of the issues and improve living standards for people living in the Direct Provision, Government must consider the long term future of this system. As the 20th anniversary of Direct Provision approaches, it is now time to consider alternatives and bring an end to this emergency measure.

“Since 2017 we have been receiving complaints made by children living in Direct Provision or by adults complaining on their behalf and we have carried out rights awareness workshops in centres all over the country. The issues complained about include financial supports, accommodation, communication, complaint management and management of transfers to different centres or larger accommodation. As we can see from today’s report, many of these issues also arise for adults and they are not going away.

“The Ombudsman’s report outlines work underway to improve recreation areas for children living in Direct Provision Centres. While it is encouraging to see that children are being considered and accommodated for, it must be highlighted that this is still not an ideal living situation for a child or young person.

“Again I would like to congratulate the Office on the Ombudsman on today’s report. It provides a useful insight into the experiences of people living in the Direct Provision System. This does not change the fact that Direct Provision is not a suitable long-term arrangement for anyone, particularly for children who are spending large proportions of their childhoods living in an institution.”



Note to Editors

  • The Ombudsman for Children’s Office is an independent statutory body with an overall mandate to promote the rights and welfare of children under the age of 18 living in Ireland.
  • Among the Ombudsman for Children’s core statutory functions is the independent and impartial investigation of complaints made by, or on behalf of, children in relation to public bodies, as well as organisations providing services on behalf of the State.