Anger after transgender woman who died in Direct Provision buried with no loved ones present

Anger after transgender woman who died in Direct Provision buried with no loved ones present
Sylva Tukula

The friends of a transgender woman who died in Direct Provision have been left devastated after she was buried without a ceremony or anyone close to her present.

On August 2 last year, Sylva Tukula died at the Great Western Direct Provision centre in Galway.

The Teach Solais LGBT+ Resource Centre says they found out last week that Sylva had been buried by the state at the start of May, despite assurances that they would be told in advance of the arrangements.

"Close friends and colleagues of Sylva were assured by both national and local State representatives that we would be notified once arrangements were made," Teach Solais said in a statement.

"Sadly, we were recently informed that our dear friend was buried by the State at the beginning of May. Members of our community and, especially those close to Sylva, were devastated to hear of her burial with no-one close to her present.

"The fact that Sylva’s burial occurred in the absence of a ceremony, and without attendance, is deeply offensive to everyone close to Sylva, particularly members of the LGBT+ community who lived in the Great Western, who knew her from the Eglinton Direct Provision centres in Galway City and those that met her throughout her life in Galway.

This abhorrent news has left many in shock, with those in the direct provision sites feeling that they will be buried alone thousands of miles away from people they grew up with by the Irish State.

The group's Chairperson Cameron Keighron is calling for an investigation into why this happened.

"We're looking for all relevant authorities who have anything to do with these kind of systems to look and see where their failings were and to put measures in place to ensure that no other group or family or friends have to go through what we've gone through and to ensure that everyone is given the dignity that they deserve, no matter their status in this country," Cameron said.

The Department of Justice says it regrets the "unintended obvious distress" caused to the friends of Ms Tukula.

It says it will liaise with her friends and colleagues to arrange a memorial.

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