The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published a report on its inspection of the child protection and welfare services provided to children living in direct provision accommodation in four of the Child and Family Service (Tusla)Areas, namely Louth/Meath, Midlands, Sligo/Leitrim/West Cavan and Dublin North City.
As an organisation that works directly with children and young people, EPIC is very aware of the impact a poor environment can have on the safety, welfare and wellbeing of a child. The findings of the first ever inspection report into Direct Provision has raised a number of concerns.
Director of EPIC, Jennifer Gargan, made the following comment:
“Children in Direct Provision are being raised in poor conditions, and are being exposed to things that children should not be confronted with. Direct Provision has, for many years, come under criticism. Year after year the State has failed to improve conditions, despite recommendations to do so from many rights based organisations who work on the ground with this group. For example, the Ombudsman for Children’s Report to the UNCRC, published last week, again highlighted concerns in relation to Direct Provision as an unsuitable form of accommodation for children for longer than 6 months. This HIQA report is shocking, but long overdue. Concerted action is now required by the Minister for Justice, the Minister for Children, the Reception and Integration Agency, and the Child and Family Agency (Tusla), and the Working Group which has been set up by Government to examine Direct Provision and other aspects of the protection process must result in positive action.”
EPIC welcomes the fact that HIQA is now monitoring the quality of service provided by the Child and Family Agency for children living in direct provision accommodation.
- See, for example, the work of the Irish Refugee Council www.irishrefugeecouncil.ie/ and the Immigrant Council of Ireland www.immigrantcouncil.ie . The operation of the Direct Provision system – particularly the length of time spent by families living in these accommodation centres – has been the subject of significant criticism on the part of international human rights monitoring mechanisms for some time; for example, the recent comments of the UN Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations on the fourth periodic report of Ireland, para. 19. Available at:http://www.ihrec.ie/publications/list/un-hrc-concluding-observations-on-ireland-and-iccp/(25.05.2015).
- The Report of the Ombudsman for Children to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on the occasion of the examination of Ireland’s consolidated Third and Fourth Report to the Committee can be accessed at: http://www.oco.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/OCO_AltReportUNCRC_2015.pdf (25.05.2015).