The former Eyre Powell Hotel in Newbridge, which is now a Direct Provision Centre
The plight of children living in Direct Provision, including those at the Eyre Powell Centre in Newbridge, was raised by a Kildare TD in the Dail recently.
Dep Fiona O’Loughlin questioned Minister Zappone about the 1200 children currently living in Direct Provision in Ireland.
O’Loughlin asked if she was satisfied that children seeking asylum in Ireland are treated equally and fairly by Ireland’s child welfare and protection services particularly in the allocation of social workers.
She said, “The UN in 2006 specifically raised the issue of discriminatory treatment received by children of asylum seekers in Ireland. The former Ombudsman for Children Emily Logan, frequently drew attention to the particular difficulties faced by these children and observed that they are among the most vulnerable in our society, facing multiple barriers to the realisation of their rights
“Many social workers have raised concerns about the lack of inter-agency co-operation between the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. This negatively impacts on their ability to serve children seeking asylum.”
She said other issues which concerned her were the difficulties these children face in accessing third level education and the lack of care for unaccompanied minors when they are discharged from State care at 18 years old.
“A society is judged on how it treats its most vulnerable members and we need to do better by these children. The two departments must engage and ensure a positive future for those children,” she said.