Monday 18 December 2017

Snail-paced bureaucracy spits on people's dignity

Six months should be set as the maximum time limit for processing asylum-seekers, writes Emer O'Kelly

It's easy to say that if you have accommodation and three meals a day provided, an additional €19 a week may be small, but at least it's "disposable income". You may think it's even more so if you have no essential travel costs because you don't have a job.

Maybe we should all try it and see. And not just for a week, but for four or five years. I don't think we'd like it. And if somebody told us we're lucky to have it, I think we'd feel more than demoralised. Not just because of the grim poverty it represents, but because of the powerlessness it imposes on us.

Yet it's what we do under legislation in this country to more than 6,300 people who have come here to seek asylum and a better life, and are under the system of "direct provision". If they don't like it, they can go back home, say the begrudgers. In fact, there's a good idea: let's just send them all back home, or at least threaten to: it'll make them shut up, at least.

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