CSR: Ending of the Direct Provision System

The Methodist Church in Ireland, through our Council on Social Responsibility, welcomes the end of the Direct Provision system.

Many of our church members have come through this system and we have seen how it has failed to treat people with dignity and left them in limbo for long periods of time. It has stymied their ability to integrate through being forced to live separately and, until recently, to be able to work, resulting in loss of confidence.

We thank Minister O’Gorman and his Cabinet colleagues for developing a pathway to the end of Direct Provision and a proposed new model centred on a human rights approach. We are particularly relieved that the new model includes an accommodation policy centred on a not-for-profit approach - which the church has called for over a long time. The network of inter-agency working groups and integration supports, including supports provided by resettlement and intercultural workers, is also a positive development. This will hopefully lead to the better involvement and integration of people seeking international protection into our wider communities.

As a church, we will continue our work to support the welcome of those seeking international protection into our communities.

We are concerned that the White Paper has failed to include the recommendation in the Day Report to set up “a one-off case-processing approach to reduce the current backlog of cases.” (As further called for in the Day report, “A simplified, case by case procedure should apply to anyone who has been more than two years in the system by the end of 2020. After security vetting, this cohort should be given leave to remain for 5 years without prejudice to their application for protection.”)
When the International Protection Act 2015 entered into force in late 2016, the backlog had not been cleared. This continues to impact the length of time it takes for a person to get a decision. The Day Report highlights the key linkage between the time taken to process international protection applications and time spent in accommodation provided by the State. In order to address these two interrelated issues the backlog must be cleared to give the new system the opportunity to succeed. 

The Methodist Church thanks Minister O’Gorman and Minister McEntee for their work and calls on them to ensure that this recommendation (relating to backlog) is incorporated into the transition to a new model. 

February 2021

Council on Social Responsibility (Southern Executive) of the Methodist Church in Ireland
Rev Steven Foster
Tel: 0871631208