Sunday 25 February 2018

Are we complicit in the damaging system we keep asylum seekers in?

The continued existence of a system which isolates, institutionalises and traumatises families echoes all too familiarly our history of failing to care for those most vulnerable.

Families wait on average up to three years to have their case heard
Families wait on average up to three years to have their case heard

Orla Tinsley

Some years ago a new hotel was built opposite the Arts centre on the main street of Newbridge, Co.Kildare. It's sleek modern architecture, and the promise of employment it created, sent ripples of spirited gossip throughout the town.

At the height of the Celtic Tiger the hotel was a proud symbol of the ever changing landscape on a main street populated by small businesses. However, overnight, the spirited chatter stopped. As a teenager watching at the time the positivity seemed to be replaced by an uncomfortable and complex mixture of anger, frustration and pity.

Some people were aggressive about it, others lamented the loss of the new business and many were just sympathetic to the situation and went on about their lives. It was the early noughties and the promising hotel had been converted into one of Ireland's many privately run Direct Provision centres.

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