Biggest ever clothes drive for refugees in direct provision

The largest-ever clothes drive for people living in direct provision takes place today.

Change of a Dress starts in the Project Arts Centre, in Dublin, at 11am, and refugees from the various direct provision centres around Ireland have been invited.

The initiative was founded by three artists — Oonagh Murphy, Maeve Stone, and the late Moira Brady Averill.

“We wanted to do something tangible,” said Oonagh Murphy.

“We asked ‘what do people really need’? When people are forced to flee their country, they don’t just leave their home behind, but also their wardrobe,” said Ms Murphy.

“It’s a really simple thing to do, because people really have this sense of powerlessness, when it comes to helping people in direct provision,” she added.

Ms Murphy said that direct provision centres disempower refugees and make them invisible to Irish society.

Ms Murphy said that there has been a “huge response” from the public and that “everyone is welcome” at the Project Arts Centre today, not just those who live in direct provision.

The day is also about connecting refugees with the rest of Irish society.

People are asked to bring clean clothes, children’s clothes, shoes, accessories, and unopened cosmetics. Anything left over will be distributed to all of the direct provision centres around Ireland, as one of the challenges was contacting refugees.

The event occurs as news comes that the Government is likely to bring forward proposals for the right of people in direct provision to seek employment.

This move is based on the result of a court case, earlier this year, which paved the way for those living in direct provision to earn a livelihood.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) took the Supreme Court case, involving a Burmese national, which led to the landmark ruling.

The IHREC’s core submission was that non-citizens, including those who are seeking asylum or subsidiary protection, are entitled to invoke the right to work, or earn a livelihood, as guaranteed under article 40.3.1 of the Constitution.

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