PEOPLES NEWS – Issue 102. April 2014 12:13 Apr 12 0 comments
Monsanto Roundup Linked to Global Boom in Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance 16:00 Mar 28 3 comments
Notorious Ukrainian nationalist militant shot dead in police raid 13:03 Mar 25 3 comments
PEOPLES NEWS issue no. 101 Date: 23 – 3 – 14 21:42 Mar 24 1 comments
The Irish water debacle: a timeline 14:56 Mar 24 0 commentsmore >>
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting
GOTTA LOVE THIS COUNTRY 18:11 Wed Apr 16, 2014
PLAYING OUT THE STRING WITH THE ANGLO TRIAL 18:16 Sun Apr 13, 2014
Care and Social Reproduction - Dublin Anarchist Bookfair 12 April 2014 09:58 Sat Apr 12, 2014
TUGGING THE FORELOCK 22:59 Tue Apr 08, 2014
Joined up thinking for the Irish Left
Opening the Low-Low Corporate Tax Rate Door Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:55 | Michael Taft
April Edition of The Socialist Voice is Out Now Mon Apr 07, 2014 09:38 | Communist Party of Ireland
Sheehy Skeffington School, Saturday April 12th in Ireland Institute, 27 Pearse S... Mon Apr 07, 2014 09:15 | Irish Left Review
New LookLeft out now! Fri Apr 04, 2014 18:23 | Irish Left Review
National Competitiveness Council Twists the Evidence to Suit a Political Argumen... Fri Apr 04, 2014 16:50 | Michael Taft
UCD Seminar: The March to Marriage Equality in the U.S.: What a difference a Decade Makes! Thu Apr 17, 2014 09:29 | Liam Thornton
A Franco-Irish discussion on marriage equality at NUI Galway Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:34 | Eoin Daly
Is Corporation Tax A Human Rights Issue? Tue Apr 15, 2014 16:48 | Charles O'Mahony
#DirectProvision14: Photography Exhibition ?One year on, and still no change? Tue Apr 15, 2014 09:38 | GuestPost
Today in Irish Legal History: The Kerry Babies and the Memory of Feminist Protest. Sat Apr 12, 2014 19:19 | Máiréad Enright
Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake
Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake
Gayle Killilea Dunne asks to be added as notice party in Sean Dunne?s bankruptcy Fri May 17, 2013 12:30 | namawinelake
Liam Thornton - Thu Apr 17, 2014 09:29
On April 23 2014, UCD Sutherland School of Law will host a seminar with Professor Kris McDaniel- Miccio on The March to Marriage Equality in the U.S.: What a difference a Decade Makes! The seminar will take place in the Harty Boardroom in the School of Law from 1pm to 2pm. Professor Kris McDaniel- Miccio, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging(...)
On April 23 2014, UCD Sutherland School of Law will host a seminar with Professor Kris McDaniel- Miccio on The March to Marriage Equality in the U.S.: What a difference a Decade Makes! The seminar will take place in the Harty Boardroom in the School of Law from 1pm to 2pm.
Professor Kris McDaniel- Miccio, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging the Colorado Constitutional Amendment prohibiting same sex marriage, will give a talk about the legal and cultural topography of marriage equality in the U.S. Since the US Supreme Court decisions in Windsor and Prop 8 (California) the winds of change are blowing strong-with 18 states (and counting) falling into the category of marriage equality- in less than a year. Word is that more will follow due to the refusal of some Attorneys General to enforce the discriminatory state laws that tracked the Federal DOMA language.
Professor McDaniel-Miccio is a professor of law at the Sturm College of Law, University of Denver. She has been a Fulbright Scholar and Senior Specialist at UCD and her scholarship has been widely published and cited in the U.S. and abroad. A native of New York City,McDaniel-Miccio is legal analyst for ABC News affiliate in Denver and has been quoted extensively in the US and Irish press and has appeared on news talk shows throughout the US. McDanile-Miccio is also an ordained Rabbi and a proud, raucous NY Yankees Fan.
Eoin Daly - Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:34
The School of Law at NUI Galway, in association with the French embassy in Ireland, will host a Franco-Irish discussion on marriage equality on April 25th. The keynote speaker is Erwann Binet, deputy of the French National Assembly. Deputy Binet was the rapporteur for the French ?pour tous? (marriage equality) bill in 2013 and will speak on(...)
The School of Law at NUI Galway, in association with the French embassy in Ireland, will host a Franco-Irish discussion on marriage equality on April 25th.
The keynote speaker is Erwann Binet, deputy of the French National Assembly. Deputy Binet was the rapporteur for the French ?pour tous? (marriage equality) bill in 2013 and will speak on the political challenges faced in passing the bill through the French parliament.
Whereas marriage equality was legislated for in France without a referendum ? despite significant political and public opposition – the Irish government has committed to holding a referendum to legalise same-sex marriage in 2015, as it believes that the Constitution in its current form would prevent this from being introduced through ordinary legislation. More than three quarters of the members of the Constitutional Convention recommended that the Constitution should be amended for provide for marriage equality for same-sex couples. Parallel to the debate on marriage rights, there has been move towards legislative reform concerning assisted reproduction and adoption rights in both countries.
In this light, this event will provide an insight on the shared experience of Ireland and France in undertaking legislative and constitutional reform in controversial areas of family law.
April 25th, 12pm
AM 150 (Martin O?Tuathail theatre)
The event is open to the public
For queries contact email@example.com ; 091 493362
Charles O'Mahony - Tue Apr 15, 2014 16:48
We are delighted to welcome the latest in a series of cross-posts by Dr Shane Darcy from the Business and Human Rights in Ireland Blog. The Business and Human Rights in Ireland Blog is dedicated to tracking and analysing developments relating to business and human rights in Ireland. It aims to address legal and policy(...)
We are delighted to welcome the latest in a series of cross-posts by Dr Shane Darcy from the Business and Human Rights in Ireland Blog. The Business and Human Rights in Ireland Blog is dedicated to tracking and analysing developments relating to business and human rights in Ireland. It aims to address legal and policy issues, as well as highlighting human rights concerns raised by the activities of Irish companies or multinational corporations based in Ireland. The blog is run by Dr Shane Darcy who is a lecturer at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland Galway.
Hardly a week goes by without the subject of Ireland?s corporation tax being in the news. At the beginning of March this year, it was reported that Apple enjoyed an even lower corporation tax rate than Ireland?s already low rate of 12.5%. The Irish Times headline put it bluntly: ?Apple paid $36m tax on $7.11bn profits at Irish unit?. Ireland?s corporation tax regime has also made international headlines; in September 2013 the Financial Times ran a lead story regarding an EU probe into ?corporate tax sweeteners? by several countries, including Ireland. Although it might not appear so at first glance, low corporation tax rates and tax avoidance by companies can have a significant impact on a States? ability to fulfill its human rights obligations.
The past few years has seen increased attention being paid, including at the highest political levels, to tax havens, secrecy jurisdictions and aggressive tax avoidance by individuals and multinational companies (see the excellent book Treasure Islands by Nicholas Shaxson). The EU are looking into various tax practices, while the G8 and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development have committed to tackling certain aspects of tax abuse.
With regards to the mechanics of tax abuse, large companies have engaged in profit shifting to low tax jurisdictions, such as Ireland, through means such as ?transfer pricing? or royalty payments for intellectual property rights. Ireland does not deny its low corporation tax rate, but the Government has been at pains to challenge any claims that this is a tax haven or that it has offered lower than publicised rates to multinationals. There is, according to Nicholas Shaxson, a ?a veritable industry of tax haven deniers? in Ireland. The latest salvo has come in a technical paper from the Department of Finance which claims an effective corporation tax rate of over just 10%, perhaps in response to the publicity given to Jim Stewart?s showing of a 2.2% effective rate in the case of some United States subsidiaries. The federal corporate tax rate in the United States is 35%.
In addition to these technical examinations of tax issues, various civil society organisations have been researching and analysing how tax activities can impact on human rights and development. The Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association, for example, convened a Task Force on Illicit Financial Flows, Poverty and Human Rights. Its comprehensive 2013 report concluded that ?tax abuses have considerable negative impacts on the enjoyment of human rights?. The principal issue is one of resources, with the vast sums that are diverted into private wealth denying governments the ability to meet their human rights obligations. The Task Force explained that practices such as profit-shifting, tax incentives and the use of secrecy jurisdictions:
deprive governments of the resources required to provide the programmes that give effect to economic, social and cultural rights, and to create and strengthen the institutions that uphold civil and political rights.
The problem is particularly pernicious in developing countries, where the non-payment of taxes, and other illicit financial flows, seriously damage poor States? ability to live up to human rights. Similar studies have been carried out by Global Witness, Oxfam, ActionAid, and the Tax Justice Network ? the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre usefully gathers all this work together here. The United Nations have appointed an Independent Expert, Cephas Lumina, to examine the impact of illicit financial flows on human rights (see his his 2013 Interim Report).
The issue remains a live one in Ireland, with each budget seeing a new round of cuts to services and little or no change to tax rates. In 2012, Colette Brown of the Irish Examiner reported the findings of the Tax Justice Network that revenue lost in the ?shadow economy? of tax evasion amounts to ?7.6bn each year. She noted that this was ?equivalent to the total amount of cutbacks and tax increases that the Government is planning to inflict on the country over the next three years?.
In 2011, following an invitation from the Irish Government, the then United Nations Independent Expert on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, conducted a country visit to Ireland. In her report, she expressed concern at the ?low level of taxation? in Ireland, which is amongst the lowest in Europe, and commented on how the Irish government has pursued cuts in public expenditure mainly rather than increasing taxes. The report states that:
Low levels of domestic taxation revenue can be a major obstacle to a State?s ability to meet obligations to realize economic, social and cultural rights. [...] seeking to achieve adjustments primarily through expenditure cuts rather than tax increases might have a major impact on the most vulnerable segments of society. Reductions in public expenditure affect the poorest and most vulnerable with the most severity, whereas some increase in taxation rates could place the burden on those who are better equipped to cope. [...] By increasing its tax take, Ireland would decrease the need for cuts to public services and social protection, and thereby help to protect the most vulnerable from further damage.
Oxfam has focused recently on the role that tax pays in increasing inequality, calling on the British Government to start ?clamping down on companies and individuals who avoid paying their fair share of tax?. If one takes a global perspective, it can be seen that the impact of a country?s approach to tax can have an effect on human rights in other countries also. In the case of Ireland?s approach to corporation tax, a thorough study by Dr Sheila Killian notes that
Ireland?s tax system can be abused by multinational firms to reduce their worldwide tax, and in the process to impoverish the revenue authorities of Southern countries.
It will be an uphill struggle to persuade the Irish Government to rethink its approach to corporation tax, given its centrality to the attraction of foreign direct investment. In response to some of the recent tax scandals, the Government claims to have ?closed a legal loophole that allowed Irish registered companies to be stateless for tax residency purposes?. This does not go as far as proposals from the OECD, whereby tax would be paid not where a company is based, but rather where economic activity takes place. The Irish Times carried the following warning regarding these proposals:
If implemented, the consequences of the proposals for Ireland, both in lost tax revenue and lost employment, would be considerable and Ireland?s appeal as a base for foreign direct investment, a key driver of economic growth, would be greatly diminished.
Business is also concerned. Chartered Accountants Ireland has said that the OECD plans will ?fundamentally change the business model for companies based in Ireland?, and that they need to be challenged ?before they become concrete to the detriment of Irish business and Irish taxpayers generally.? Appeals to competitiveness are insufficient, however, in the face of the detriment to human rights caused by tax policies and strategies pursued by Ireland, by other low or no tax jurisdictions and by many of the world?s largest multinationals.
GuestPost - Tue Apr 15, 2014 09:38
Caroline Reid is the Communications Officer for Irish Refugee Council ?One year on, and still no change?, Thursday 24 April, 6pm at the Powerscourt Gallery in Dublin city centre. This marks one year since the national day of action last year which called for an end to the institutional accommodation of people seeking international protection in Ireland. The exhibition(...)
?One year on, and still no change?, Thursday 24 April, 6pm at the Powerscourt Gallery in Dublin city centre.
This marks one year since the national day of action last year which called for an end to the institutional accommodation of people seeking international protection in Ireland. The exhibition includes images from Zoë O?Reilly, Rory O?Neill and the Asylum Archive, and offers a glimpse into the reality of life in the Direct Provision system for those seeking our protection. The focus and aim of the exhibition is to raise awareness about the human cost of the current system, in particular the impact on the children who are growing up within it. Please feel free to extend the invitation to friends, colleagues and family, and circulate the flyer across your social media channels or website. The exhibition will run for two weeks, 24 April ? 8 May 2014.
?The archive has to be read from below, from a position of solidarity with those displaced, deformed, silenced or made invisible by the machineries of profit and progress? (Sekula, 1983).
Asylum Archive?s objective is to collaborate with asylum seekers, artists, academics, civil society activists and immigration lawyers, amongst others, with a view to creating an interactive documentary cross-platform online resource, critically foregrounding accounts of exile, displacement, trauma and memory. Asylum Archive deploys a combination of practice-based fieldwork research methods, including photographs of direct provision centres and the use of found and abandoned artefacts, video and audio records with human rights activists and the documentation of reports, scholarly essays and newspaper articles on the subject of asylum in Ireland.
Asylum Archive is researching a particular time in recent Irish history, since the inception of direct provision dispersal system in 1999 to the present day, serving as a repository of asylum in Ireland and encouraging open debate around the treatment of people living within this system.
Rory O?Neill is a photographer based in Dublin. His work is primarily concerned with exploring the asylum process in Ireland and how residents of direct provision confront the reality of an institutionalised world.
The images form part of a collection of work entitled ?New Bridges?. The twenty- one photographs and accompanying texts which make up this collection emerged from a four-month collaboration in 2010 between Zoë O?Reilly and eight individuals seeking asylum in Ireland and living in the direct provision system.
The project sought to explore the everyday experiences of living in direct provision in Ireland, from the perspectives of those living within the system, and to create images and understandings which look beyond the imposed label of ?asylum seeker?, challenging the categories, assumptions and stereotypes that this label carries. All photographs and texts were created by the participants throughout the collaborative process. Some participants wished to use a pseudonym for their work, and others wished to remain anonymous. Names have therefore been changed in accordance with this.
Irish Refugee Council
The Irish Refugee Council (IRC) is Ireland?s only national non-governmental organisation which specialises in working with refugees in Ireland.
The main work focus is on those in the asylum system who are applying to be recognised as refugees. For almost 20 years, the IRC have observed the changes that have been made in response to the arrival of refugees in Ireland. Based on extensive experience working directly with those affected, they have seen the huge financial cost of a failed system and the untold damage that has and is being done to men, women and children in the asylum process.
The Direct Provision system:
No legislative basis;
No independent complaints procedure;
No independent inspection mechanism;
A system designed as a short-term accommodation solution;
Alternatives have been put forward (http://bit.ly/1frbvX4);
There are currently over 4,000 people trapped in this system;
One third of them are children (http://bit.ly/1guh5LD);
Direct Provision: No place to call home.
Máiréad Enright - Sat Apr 12, 2014 19:19
The Irish Times today carries an article reminding us of the 30th anniversary of the events which lead to the “Kerry Babies case”. Joanne Hayes, approaching her 25th birthday, gave birth late on the night of April 12th, 1984, in what later became controversial circumstances, to a son who did not survive. The infant would(...)
The Irish Times today carries an article reminding us of the 30th anniversary of the events which lead to the “Kerry Babies case”.
The article is worth reading as a summary of the Kerry Babies controversy – an important punctuation mark in the commemoration of a devastating period for the Irish women’s movement. The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, with all the violence of the attendant campaign, passed in 1983, Anne Lovett had died in January of the year in which Joanne Hayes gave birth. When we recall these events, there are certain default phrases which appear again and again. The Irish Times tells us: ‘Thirty years ago, Ireland was a very different place.’ But thirty years ago, plenty of people reacted to the judicial tribunal in ways which would be familiar to the political ‘mainstream’ now. They drew attention to the searing flaws in the tribunal, and to the persecution of Joanne Hayes. It is important that the history of feminist activism around these events is not erased. The Irish Times article forgets to say so, but feminist women and men rebelled against what was done to Joanne Hayes in 1984. Nell McCafferty’s book A Woman to Blame documents one beautiful campaign of solidarity. Her description is worth repeating at length:
McCafferty goes on to describe how the gesture caught the public imagination, such that the florist in Tralee found herself ‘under siege’ with orders of flowers for Joanne Hayes. Later, the book describes the correspondence Ms. Hayes received from all over the country – not only flowers but letters and Mass cards. The book also documents a later protest, by the villagers of Joanne’s homeplace of Abbeydorney, who stood outside the tribunal in silence with placards proclaiming their support for her. The recent past in which Joanne Hayes and other women were so poorly treated, was not, of course, a ‘different country’. There was always resistance, even in rural communities, and that resistance was more than a minor detail, even if it was not mirrored in the attitudes of those in authority. It is a tradition – of refusal of deference to law – carried on by groups such as ‘Speaking of Imelda‘. And it shines a blinding light on the complacency of those who insisted then, and now, on ‘the way things are’.
GuestPost - Fri Apr 11, 2014 14:49
We are pleased to welcome this guest post by Dr Joe McGrath, NUI Galway. A part of the prosecution against some former executives at Anglo Irish Bank, ostensibly initiated by a Garda raid on that bank?s headquarters in February of 2009, has now collapsed over five years later. The Court has directed that the jury(...)
We are pleased to welcome this guest post by Dr Joe McGrath, NUI Galway.
A part of the prosecution against some former executives at Anglo Irish Bank, ostensibly initiated by a Garda raid on that bank?s headquarters in February of 2009, has now collapsed over five years later. The Court has directed that the jury must acquit these former executives on a number of charges. Though the jury will now deliberate on other allegations, this development lends some support to the view that it is notoriously difficult to prove that white-collar crimes have been committed.
Lawyers and accountants are often the most aware of the internal activities of companies and they advise company officers on matters of corporate compliance. In growing recognition of this, the Irish State is now much more willing to require these professionals to act as ?gatekeepers? who prevent white-collar crimes or report their suspicions that criminal offences have taken place. Auditors must report to the Director of Corporate Enforcement if they suspect that a company, its officers or agents have committed an indictable offence under the Companies Acts. Similarly, auditors must report suspected breaches of the Tax Acts to the Revenue Commissioners if the company does not remedy these breaches. Disciplinary committees of recognised accounting bodies are also under an obligation to report to the DCE if they believe that one of their members has committed an indictable offence. Liquidators are under a duty to report suspected indictable offences to the DPP and the Director of Corporate Enforcement.
Lawyer-client communications are usually privileged and cannot be used at trial even where they would disclose the commission of an offence. It is thought that jeopardising the accused?s defence, by making him fearful of discussing all matters with his counsel, is too high a price to pay for a conviction. Nevertheless, solicitors must report their clients? suspicious transactions to the Revenue Commissioners and the Gardaí if it is suspected that they involve money laundering. Indeed, since 2011, we are all information reporters because it is an offence, punishable by five years imprisonment, for any person to withhold material information which may prevent the commission of certain white-collar crimes or which may assist in securing the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of white collar criminals.
The use of ?information reporters?, and particularly the legal obligation of auditors and accountancy bodies to report the commission of indictable offences, has proven very useful to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement in helping it detect corporate wrongdoing. Nevertheless, this exploitation reflects a significant reorientation of who exactly is expected to police corporate and white-collar crimes. Auditors, for example, were traditionally required to protect shareholders who invested in companies run by strangers. They realigned ?information asymmetries? in contexts where ownership (shareholders) and control (mangers) were separated. The audit provided investors with independent verification of the companies? financial information so management could not misrepresent the position of the company that they were seeking capital for, so that investors could make informed accurate decisions about whether their investment was viable, and continued audits ensured that the management was not misappropriating funds from the company thereafter.
Though the status of the auditor has long since shifted from mere bookkeeper to professional accountant, the role continued to be a private one. The auditor reported to the board and the shareholders, not to the Gardaí. Yet, over time, this role has become unsustainable as high profile scandals, like those involving Enron, showed that auditors identified more with boards than with shareholders and were an ineffective check on corporate management. In other cases closer to home, such as those involving the evasion of Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) by various Irish banks, it was clear that the warnings of financial analysts were ignored when they did report their concerns to management. It was realised therefore, that there was untapped potential to exploit professionals advising corporate interests.
Though such professionals continue to act for private interests, there appears to be some early signs that legal and accounting professionals may be transitioning from private watchdogs to public ?information reporters?, private police who either prevent wrongdoing or report it after the fact for public protection. If the State is not exactly making legal and accounting professionals act as bloodhounds, it is certainly keen to make them more attentive watchdogs.
Dr. Joe McGrath is a law lecturer at NUI Galway and author of the forthcoming book: Corporate and White-Collar Crime in Ireland: A New Architecture of Regulatory Enforcement (Manchester University Press).
Liam Thornton - Fri Apr 11, 2014 11:59
Liam Thornton is a lecturer in law in UCD. Claire Murray is a lecturer in law in UCC. On RTE’s Morning Ireland, Aisling Kenny traveled to a direct provision centre in the West of Ireland and spoke to children and families about what it was like to live in direct provision. [You can access a(...)
On RTE’s Morning Ireland, Aisling Kenny traveled to a direct provision centre in the West of Ireland and spoke to children and families about what it was like to live in direct provision. [You can access a longer report here]. The children spoke of the profound effect that condemnation for years on end to direct provision is having on their education, their sense of identity, sense of belonging and integration with their local communities.
Letter Template to Members of the Oireachtas
Yesterday’s 14 hour direct provision blogathon (you can access all posts here), highlighted many of the same problems. It is likely that those in positions of power to change this system did not read these posts, therefore, there is a need to ensure that members of the Oireachtas are aware of concerns with direct provision and are called to immediately legislate for a human right based alternative. We encourage you to send a letter/email to your political representatives and to assist with this we have included a template below ? please feel free to personalise the letter/email. Any alternative system must recognise the dignity of asylum seekers during their time in the status determination process.
You can find a template for this letter here: Direct Provision Letter to TDs
Need to find out who are your local TDs? Then access this information and their contact details on Who is my TD?
With upcoming local and European elections, one small way in which people can agitate for change to the direct provision system is to seek assurances from candidates that they will raise your concerns on this matter with their parties.
Letter/Statement Template for Local Authority Candidates
Local authorities and councillors have no role in direct provision, however if there was some discussion of this at the doorstep, then councillors may bring it to the attention of their respective parties. If a local authority candidate does come to your door, then you may want to provide them with this: Council Candidates Direct Provision
Liam Thornton - Thu Apr 10, 2014 21:00
How slowly they die as we kneel beside them, whisper in their ear. And we are too late. We are always too late Eavan Boland, Outside History (1990) I would like to thank all contributors for their posts today, in particular persons in the direct provision system, who have shared their own personal experiences and(...)
How slowly they die
Eavan Boland, Outside History (1990)
I would like to thank all contributors for their posts today, in particular persons in the direct provision system, who have shared their own personal experiences and stories from the direct provision system. This event would not have been able to take place without each of these people willing to contribute a post to the marking of 14 Years of Direct Provision in Ireland. A very special thanks to Reuben Hambakachere, who wanted to put his name to the post. Two others deserve special mention, Caroline Reid, Communications Officer, Irish Refugee Council for coordinating blog posts from most of the asylum seekers for today?s blogathon. Also, many thanks to Muireann Ni Raghallaigh for offering advice and assistance throughout.
To get involved in campaigns relating to direct provision, please see the following organisations: Doras Luimni; Irish Refugee Council; Nasc, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre and Anti-Deportation Ireland.
The operation of aspects of direct provision is a
So after 14 years after the system of direct provision, where are we? The system of direct provision remains. There is, I believe, no groundswell of support for ending the system of direct provision. Moments that could have hinted at a more systemic change, when we as a State examined how we previously treated those condemned to industrial schools, borstals and Magdalenes. These critical moments for change has passed and gone, but these moments will come again. Those who seek to bring an end to the system of direct provision still have to make it relevant to those beyond asylum seekers, human rights organisations, students, and those of us interested in human rights in academia.
No matter how much those of us already convinced of the need for change, the State will always use the trump card of the spectre of hordes at our borders, scheming and waiting for any sort of humanity to be present within a system that respects fundamental human rights of asylum seekers.
The usual response, is that things would be much worse if asylum seekers were in their country of origin and that asylum seekers themselves are responsible for the time they spend in direct provision through engaging in legal action prevent removal from the State. There are 1,000 cases before the High Court at the moment challenging State immigration decisions (not all asylum, but a large proportion certainly are). Better and fairer decisions reached at the very first instance is the core reform that is needed, but with three different and separate forms of protection potentially available in the State (refugee, subsidiary protection and leave to remain), this shows a deeply flawed status determination system. Access to justice is a fundamental (and oft ignored) aspect of any liberal democratic state, and this is access to justice for all in the State, and not just business. This right must be upheld for asylum seekers seeking to have a decision on whether they are entitled to any form of protection from Ireland.
The system of direct provision is offensive to the very notion of human dignity and the rule of law. A Northern Ireland court refused to return an asylum seeking family to the Republic of Ireland, and the system of reception for asylum seekers in the UK is far from ideal. So we are now in a position that a court in a different jurisdiction has clearly stated that the system of direct provision is not suitable for children. That there has been no response from the Department of Justice or Department of Social Protection to this decision is telling.
Today, many blog posts from asylum seekers themselves note the feelings of despair, helplessness, infantalisation, significant and prolonged social control by private companies who run the direct provision system. The posts have highlighted significant challenges faced by those within the direct provision system putting life on hold for 3, 4, 5 or 7 years.
At a seminar held in UCD on direct provision a number of weeks ago, a participant made the following point:
Today is the 14th year of direct provision. Tomorrow, the 15th year of direct provision begins. Tomorrow, over 4,000 people will wake up to begin another day in direct provision.
Here are all blog posts from this direct provision blogathon:
Dr Jenny Dagg
An individual writes
From a mother in direct provision
Jillian van Turnhout
Irish Association of Social Workers
Deirdre Horgan, Jacqui O?Riordan and Shirley Martin
The writer has been in direct provision for five years now (she is still there)
Dr Muireann Ní Raghallaigh
An asylum seeker writes
A concerned individual
Professor Robbie Gilligan
Anti-Deportation Ireland ( Jacqui O’Riordan and Mike FitzGibbon)
A human being in direct provision
A father and a husband seeking asylum in Ireland
Donnacha O’ Ceallaigh
From an asylum seeker
With thanks to @Limerick1914 for the picture used for this post. This stamp was issued by An Post marking World Refugee Day 1960.
GuestPost - Thu Apr 10, 2014 20:30
Sue Conlan is CEO of the Irish Refugee Council Claims that the system of Direct Provision is necessary to dissuade others from ‘choosing’ Ireland as a country in which to seek asylum are based on assumptions that people have access to information about the reality of life in Ireland and, using that knowledge, are able(...)
Claims that the system of Direct Provision is necessary to dissuade others from ‘choosing’ Ireland as a country in which to seek asylum are based on assumptions that people have access to information about the reality of life in Ireland and, using that knowledge, are able to decide whether they will attempt to enter the country. Those assumptions are open to challenge in themselves.
But there is a wider question that demands more immediate attention and it is this: is it morally defensible to choose to treat people present in Ireland in a way that undermines their right to basic dignity on the grounds that this might limit the number of people who come to Ireland to seek protection? This in itself begs the question as to whether decisions about controlling entry into a country (even if shown to be based on evidence of the link between treatment within and decisions to enter) can justify the treatment of those who have entered and to whom we may argue that there is a greater responsibility. I would argue that we need to keep the two separate. And this is regardless of whether or not we hold to the view that most of those seeking asylum in Ireland are not entitled to protection as refugees.
My argument is that to knowingly base a practice on a belief that others will be deterred from coming to Ireland is an acceptance that we are failing in our obligations to those who need a place of safety and security. Maybe the idea is that there is a ‘greater good’ and that some must always suffer for it. If that ‘greater good’ was because we are concentrating upon raising the standards for Irish citizens on the sharp end of austerity then maybe we could understand it better. But they continue to suffer without much sign of relief. And, in any event, the high financial cost of a system based on a profit line hardly justifies the deterrence argument.
How do you explain the policy underlying Direct Provision to a victim of torture or repression, often separated from those that they love and for whose safety and welfare they fear? Maybe this is one way: “I am sorry but there are some people who abuse the system and therefore you have to be treated in this way – moved around the country at short notice without choice, share a room or facilities with people you don’t know, eat when and what we arrange for you, receive a payment of ?19.10 a week for any prescriptions, travel and communications. Oh and you can’t work even if you have skills, experience and qualifications that would be useful to us and which it would be good for you to maintain, however long you are here”.
Or try explaining it to a young person, whether separated from or part of a family, who arrived in Ireland through no choice of their own: “We are okay with you going to school but when you complete your leaving certificate, we don’t want you to go on to further education because we need to ensure that other people don’t see Ireland as a soft touch and a way of getting a free or low cost education”.
The idea behind treating people who arrive in Ireland according to the minimum standards that we apply to citizens isn’t, as may be suspected, because we make no distinction between Irish citizens and other EU or foreign nationals. That distinction can remain. But it is out of a recognition that there is an obligation to treat people living amongst us with respect and recognise them as members of our community, even if it is only for a temporary period. Neither is it to say that those in the asylum process should have the same rights as those who are citizens or long term residents. But it is to accept that creating dependence, maintaining separation, limiting even the chance to better oneself and contribute to the country, is degrading both Irish society and also the person that it is the target of that policy.
GuestPost - Thu Apr 10, 2014 20:00
From an asylum seeker I will like to say is all over, but we just began, Loved to end it all but the dreams just began, Emotions are deep, but saturated with the love of continuity, How do I phrase the sentence? How can I illustrate the understanding I have? If only knowledge can be(...)
I will like to say is all over, but we just began,
Loved to end it all but the dreams just began,
Emotions are deep, but saturated with the love of continuity,
How do I phrase the sentence?
How can I illustrate the understanding I have?
If only knowledge can be inscribed and use when needed,
My life unknown, born alive, but lives as the dead.
I had a faith which has faded,
For life is hard so I crack my head to live.
Words are not far, but I eat pictures to be free,
For burned mouth has no laugher.
Trees may die, but we may try,
For living is try when hands are tied.
Who can tell when it will end or ever know?,
If the dead feels a pain,
No one cares about what they don’t see.
Meaning of this poem, sentence by sentence
(I will like to say is all over, but we just began) As the hope of most refugees, a new place or country means a safe and better life but when one is kept in one place for years not knowing what the future holds, is in itself painful.
(Loved to end it all but the dreams just began) how can one forget the past when he/she is still in pain, I cry most night not because of the thing I went through but what am going through.
(Emotions are deep, but saturated with the love of continuity) If it was not hoped and friends, most will have ended their life, the question I ask myself most times is” what is there to live for”.
(How can I phrase the sentence) Our stories are told every day, but no change is seen, How can I illustrate the understanding I have) What better way should we speak, what else haven’t we done. (If only knowledge can be inscribed and use when needed, My life unknown, born alive, but lives as the dead) We may be seen moving about, but inwardly we are dead, dead because emotional pain kills, dead because our pain is never known and dead because there is no one to give help.
(I had a faith which has faded) Most of us have no confidence now because there is no hope in speaking. (For life is hard so I crack my head to live. Words are not far, but I eat pictures to be free, For burned mouth has no laugher.,) The power is not in our hands so our pains are always there, the power is not in our hands so we cry to sleep each day.
(Trees may die, but we may try, For living is try when hands are tied.Who can tell when it will end or ever know?, If the dead feels a pain, No one care about what they don’t see) What else can we do, the power is in your hands.