Campaigners call for end to direct provision after young mother dies at Cork centre

Campaigners have repeated calls for an end to direct provision after a young mother took her own life in a Cork accommodation centre.

Gardaí were called to the Kinsale Rd facility at around 8.15pm on Tuesday and found the body of the 36-year-old woman from South Korea dead in her room. She had been living at the facility for between six months and a year.

A Garda spokesman confirmed they are treating the death as a personal tragedy, and are liaising with embassy officials as they prepare a file for the coroner’s court.

Residents at the centre said the woman had a history of depression, had little English, and kept to herself.

Zoya Zoya, a Pakistani beautician who has been living at the complex for a year, said fellow residents were shocked by the death.

“She was a very quiet woman. When she came in to the dining room, she didn’t really talk to anyone. She kept to herself. But we didn’t expect she would do something like this,” she said.

Residents of the Kinsale Rd direct provision centre in Cork hold a vigil last night after a young mother took her own life there. Picture: Jim Coughlan

The Department of Justice, which oversees direct provision through the Reception and Integration Agency, confirmed that the woman had been receiving support services from Cork University Hospital.

A spokesman said counselling and other support services will be made available to the centre’s residents and staff through the HSE.

“Any other supports required, including the holding of a memorial service, will be facilitated in due course,” said the spokesman.

The Green Party’s representative for Cork North Central, Oliver Moran, described direct provision as like “modern-day concentration camps”.

“I’m devastated by this death because it was preventable and this is a result of conscious policy decisions over time. We’re reiterating our call to end direct provision. Now isn’t the time for wringing hands. We need to accept responsibility.”

A young boy shows his support during the vigil last night. Picture: Jim Coughlan

The Green Party representative for Cork South Central, Lorna Bogue, said the State needs to accept responsibility for the death of a young mother in its care.

Last year Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald revealed that between 2002 and 2014, 61 asylum seekers, including 16 children under six, died in direct provision centres.

“While all of these deaths are, of course, tragic, they need to be viewed proportionately and against the background that RIA has provided accommodation for almost 53,000 persons over the course of the 14 years the direct provision policy has been in place,” Ms Fitzgerald said at the time.

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