Direct provision: 'If that is the kindness of the Irish State, I would hate to experience its cruelty'

"The longing for a place to call home can be unbearable as you count months and years existing in an environment that eats away at your humanity," Bulelani Mfaco said.
Direct provision: 'If that is the kindness of the Irish State, I would hate to experience its cruelty'

An activist campaigning for the end of the direct provision system for housing asylum seekers in Ireland has criticised the State's treatment of people coming into the country looking for a better life.

Outlining the exploitation and poor treatment they receive, Bulelani Mfaco from the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland, said the system "eats away at your humanity".

Writing in a special report on direct provision in the Irish Examiner, Mr Mfaco described "the misery of having to survive on €38.80 per week".

"The longing for a place to call home can be unbearable as you count months and years existing in an environment that eats away at your humanity," he said.

Mr Mfaco outlined why the subject on explaining the issues with the direct provision system is a difficult one to undertake.

"The process of getting people to understand why direct provision needs to be abolished can be emotionally taxing," he explained.

"It involves the asylum-seeking advocate stripping down to the core of their being to lay bare their psychological scars.

"It starts with recounting the circumstances that made them flee their country of origin or habitual residence," he said, recalling the day in October 2017 he claimed asylum in Ireland.

Mr Mfaco explained how he had to fill out a 60-page form in the process - particularly challenging as many people coming to Ireland do not speak English fluently.

Not allowed to get employment under the system, he explained how this leads to asylum seeker's being taken advantage of.

"The desperation to escape idleness and the poverty people are forced to endure as they wait for a decision on their asylum claim has pushed asylum seekers into exploitation in the labour market as they try to supplement their petty weekly allowance.

I have a friend who used to look after children in people’s homes for €100 per week.

Calling for the system to be abolished, he was also critical of the State for "applauding itself" for looking after those fealing their home countries.

"If that is the kindness and compassion of the Irish State, I would hate to experience its cruelty."

- You can read the full special report here

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