Today I spent my lunchbreak writing letters to my TDs and government ministers asking of their plans to ensure promises of ending direct provision in the next government’s lifetime were upheld and urging them to put the worsening situation in the Mediterranean to the top of their agenda. Here is the letter.
To show you that activism doesn’t need to be perfect or spellchecked or formatted correctly – I NEVER BLOODY SAID I WAS IN THEIR CONSTITUENCY!!! (and therefore have the power to vote them out) – it just needs to be an action word. If you’d like to use this as a template, it would totally make the shit broccoli I ate writing it worthwhile.
Also please enjoy the attached photo, Sudocrem and all, which shows how completely chuffed with myself I am for overcoming a ridiculous personal hurdle today xoxoxoxoxo
Last week I was one of thousands of signatories on a petition to end Direct Provision. This week, the new Programme for Government says that you plan to end DP within the lifetime of the next government.
This sounds great and might appear as progress but what does this actually mean? During the twenty-year long system of DP, we have seen governments be dragged over the coals in order to speechify about action yet NOTHING humane, lasting, or impactful has ever come from these performances. The most glaring and recent example of this is, of course, the ongoing controversy over the right to work. The parties now forming government have facilitated this, they – as we all are – are culpable in this.
I want to know what you personally are going to do to, not reform a system into something palatable for the Irish public, but to deconstruct it entirely and build, in its place, a programme that recognises the trauma and suffering most people in direct provision have lived through to make it to our country and the experience, qualifications and vibrancy they offer us. These are not just people – they are VALUABLE people.
I ask that you implement the recommendations of MASI, an activist group, who have proposed the following measures to dismantle direct provision: 1. Max stay of 90 days in reception centre upon arrival; 2. Unrestricted right to work and assistance to find employment; 3. Access to same HAP and welfare payments received by any homeless & unemployed Irish person. A full outline of their recommendations can be found at: http://www.masi.ie/resources/
I would also like to draw your attention to what continues to happen in the Mediterranean. This weekend, it was reported that the total number of bodies recovered from a boat travelling from Tunisia to Italy had risen from 39 to 61. At least 22 women had been found dead, one of whom was pregnant, and four children. According to the United Nations refugee agency, attempts to reach the Italian coast from Tunisia increased by 150% in the first four months of the year, compared with the same period in 2019.
Meanwhile, the EU has increased its securitization budget, giving money to the very services that prevent these people from escaping threats to their life and finding safety. What are you and the Irish government doing about this? Do you believe this is right?
This is intolerable, inhumane, and a complete disregard for our heritage as an emigrant nation. I implore you to speak up for these voiceless and to put these concerns at the top of your agenda.
I look forward to hearing your response to my queries and seeing the action you will take to ensure this is at the top of the political agenda.