Deputy Kathleen Funchion
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children, Equality and Integration Kathleen Funchion TD has voiced deep concern about the experiences of children living Direct Provision, following the publication of a report by the Ombudsman For Children’s Office.
Deputy Funchion said: “This report makes for shocking reading and raises serious issues about the physical and mental wellbeing of children subjected to life in Direct Provision.
“Children in Direct Provision are among the most vulnerable children in our society and we must do everything we can to ensure that they can experience their childhoods safely and with dignity.
“In the report, children have shared how they have been forced to live in small, cramped spaces which are detrimental to their physical development and emotional wellbeing. It is vital that all children have enough space to play, study and live. This is a universal right and it is unacceptable that children in Direct Provision should be denied it.
“Some of the children also raised deeply troubling concerns about their lack of privacy, reporting that many areas of Direct Provision centres are monitored by cameras and families say that staff enter and examine rooms without notice.
“This is an unacceptable breach of children’s privacy. The centres must work to ensure that the dignity and privacy of all Direct Provision residents is maintained.
“The report also details how many children in Direct Provision have been subject to racist and sectarian discrimination in the education system and in the wider community. This has included being subjected to derogatory slurs or frightening protests outside the centres.
“This is appalling discrimination and the Government must do everything in its power to ensure that people in Direct Provision are supported to integrate fully in society without having to fear such abuse or unacceptable attacks.”