Direct provision residents fail to speak out over ‘troublemaker’ label fears

Peter Tyndall.

The Ombudsman received 97 formal complaints from residents of direct provision centres last year, with some asylum seekers claiming they were reluctant to complain about issues where they lived for fear of being labelled “troublemakers”.

Of the 97 complaints lodged with the Ombudsman since last April, just 10 were upheld but assistance was given in another 28 cases.

Thirty complaints related to transfers, half of which were not upheld. According to the Ombudsman, many complaints are due to a transfer request not being facilitated, often because there is no suitable capacity at another centre.

In a commentary on his office’s role in addressing complaints in direct provision since April, Peter Tyndall said it was “reasonable” a transfer request be turned down on capacity grounds, but said applications could also be held until a suitable vacancy arose.

“I am pleased to report that RIA [Reception and Integration Agency] have started to take this approach,” he said.

Mr Tyndall said he was personally made aware of a complaint by a resident of a centre in Waterford who was the subject of a deportation order and then given a letter telling him to vacate the centre within six weeks.

On checking with the RIA, the Ombudsman found 23 such letters had been issued to residents across different centres.

RIA said while it does write to residents who have deportation orders outstanding against them, it was to encourage them to agree to voluntary deportation and it would not forcibly remove any of the 23 residents concerned.

The Ombudsman said his staff began visiting direct provision centres and Emergency Reception and Orientation Centres from last April and also engaged with the stakeholders including the RIA, the Ombudsman for Children’s Office, and NGOs.

His observations noted that as well as complaints about food provision, transfers and accommodation, complaints were also lodged regarding the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, often about a failure to sanction an exceptional needs payment, and about the HSE, mainly over medical cards.

On the department, he said there was “a small number of Designated Persons habitually refusing applications that are normally granted elsewhere”.

The Ombudsman noted how “many residents have told my staff that they were reluctant to complain about issues at their centres for fear of being singled out as troublemakers or persecuted in some other way for having complained.”

However, he also noted a lack of engagement by some asylum seekers, particularly in men-only centres.

The Ombudsman now intends to carry out follow-up visits to centres.

More on this topic

'Arty bastards' join forces to shed light on 'inhumane' Direct Provision system'Arty bastards' join forces to shed light on 'inhumane' Direct Provision system

‘Courageous’ asylum seekers fighting FGM in Ireland‘Courageous’ asylum seekers fighting FGM in Ireland

Govt considering using State-owned land for Direct Provision accommodationGovt considering using State-owned land for Direct Provision accommodation

Justice Minister: 'Direct Provision is a guarantee of safety... there is no restriction on freedom'Justice Minister: 'Direct Provision is a guarantee of safety... there is no restriction on freedom'


This truck serves as an excellent metaphor for what needs to happen in our education system. A colossal truck needs to barge in front of it.Secret Diary of an Irish Teacher: Time to ditch private schools

Sorting out Cork people for ages...Ask Audrey: Is it still ok to just lob the gob after 10 pints?

Nip those winter ailments in the bud with the help of garden bounty. Fiann Ó Nualláin shows you how.Have a berry merry Christmas with the help of garden bounty

Dig a planting hole around three times the size of its pot and around the same depth, loosening the soil around the hole.Your quick guide to planting trees

More From The Irish Examiner