A Cork-based fundraiser is aiming to help mothers in Direct Provision centres across the county to bring Christmas to their children.
The campaign comes amid reports that almost 2,000 children live in Direct Provision, and that approximately 170 people have been living in accommodation centres for seven years or more.
So far €11,000 has been raised to help bring Santa to Direct Provision centres on the Kinsale Road, and in Glounthaune, Clonakilty, and Mallow. Now, attention has turned to the Millstreet centre at Drishane Castle, which campaigners say has the largest number of children of all the Cork Direct Provision sites.
Hazel Hurley is currently working with the centre social worker on a fundraiser for Millstreet. She says: “Childhood is such a special time and shapes who you will become. Parents only want to provide the best for their kids but in this situation are being prevented from doing so, perhaps for many years and with no end in sight."
Kinsale-based mother of two Ciara McDonnell set up a Christmas fundraiser for children in the Kinsale Road direct provision centre. She says: “There’s a huge lack of awareness about the reality of what life is truly like for those living in Direct Provision across the country. Our campaign is rooted in the need to foster a sense of community spirit towards our friends living in accommodation centres across Cork. The single greatest thing that has stood out to us as we met these families was the lack of autonomy that they experience in their daily life, and that’s what we want to remedy, one act of kindness at a time.”
“People around the country have already opened their hearts and their wallets to the campaign, and we’ve secured enough funds to cover gifts for children at Kinsale Road, Glounthaune, Mallow and Clonakilty. Now we want to help the families living at Millstreet. It’s a big ask. There are 144 children living at the centre, so we will need all the help we can get,” Ms McDonnell added.
Meanwhile, figures released to RTÉ reveal that 1,047 people have spent two-three years in direct provision accommodation; 748 have spent up to four years; and around 170 have been living in direct provision centres for seven years or more.
People living in Direct Provision get a weekly allowance of €21.60 and are not allowed to engage in extra work or receive any other welfare payments.