Keeping people “locked up in direct provision” adds to the problems they have encountered before coming to Ireland, according to a contributor to a new report to be published today.
The report, We Are Cork: Stories from a Diverse City, is being launched today by NASC, the Immigrant Support Centre in Cork.
The publication features contributions from 24 immigrants to Cork, including eight who had experience of seeking international protection or had lived in direct provision. NASC intends for the report to serve as an oral history and a platform upon which to build future integration actions.
One of the contributors, Nura Hagi, who is originally from Somalia and is a part-time lecturer at the Adult Continuing Education Centre at University College Cork. She lived for a short time in direct provision after coming to Ireland.
She said: “People flee from their country to seek protection and to heal from the various persecution they’ve been through in their respective countries. Keeping them locked up in direct provision centres is completely inhumane and adds more salt to their many injuries.”
Another woman, Nobantu Nomsa Nti, said she and her family were very happy on arriving in Ireland from South Africa as they felt it was a safer country. She said: “I was very excited but gradually, the excitement start ed fading away. We only got our leave to remain in 2015. We spent seven years of our lives in direct provision centres and three of my children were born while we were in the centres.”
Rosario Balmaceda Zuniga, who is in direct provision since 2019, said direct provision needs to be ended, as do the delays in the system.
She said: “I would like to see changes in the system — for people to be settled faster than what is happening. I have been in the accommodation centre since 2019 and I don’t even know what my situation is. I would like to see an end to the direct provision system. I would also like to see Department of Justice have offices here in Cork so that we do not have to travel long distances to answer queries from the International Protection Office.”
NASC CEO Fiona Hurley said the organisation wants to highlight the diversity of Cork city through the report.
She added: “The report shows that there is still a lot of work to be done — particularly in tackling racism and discrimination and under-employment however, there are also plenty of positives in people’s experiences of Cork. Overall people felt a sense of safety in Cork and believed that it was a good place to have their homes and raise their families. Outside of larger structural changes needed around access to accommodation and dismantling direct provision, we can also see how individual acts of kindness or solidarity from neighbours or strangers can really help cement people’s sense of belonging in Cork and can stay with them for years. Each of us individually can also be part of making Cork a more welcoming place and a safe harbour for all.”
Nigerian Ps. Dickson Aribasoye noted that racism is not as frequent on the streets of Cork now as it was when he arrived with his family in 2000.