Living long term in Direct Provision results in significant human costs, impacting on physical and mental health, on skills and training, family relationships and the ability of asylum seekers to participate in society. The identification and implementation of durable solutions for individuals, families and children residing long term in Direct Provision lies at the heart of JRS Ireland's advocacy agenda.
Whilst contemporary debates concerning the Irish asylum system predominantly focus on the conditions in Direct Provision centres and alternatives to the system, JRS Ireland believes that the length of time asylum seekers are spending in Direct Provision is the area in most urgent need of reform and the greatest challenge to our mission in Ireland.
Asylum seekers in Ireland are spending ever increasing periods of time living in Direct Provision accommodation, despite the fact that asylum trends over the past decade show a continued decrease in the number of applications.
The expectation would be that rapidly falling asylum numbers should be accompanied by a similar fall in the numbers accommodated in Direct Provision and that a pattern of decreasing applications should free up resources to be deployed on backlogs and facilitate an increase in the rate of cases being processed to completion. Persons entering the system under these circumstances and those with outstanding applications could reasonably have expected to be spending less and less time awaiting a final determination. Unfortunately, the opposite is true and many asylum seekers are living for prolonged periods of time in Direct Provision as a result.
This is exacerbated by the fact that children constitute one third of all residents of Direct Provision and are uniquely vulnerable to the lifelong consequences of growing up in such an instituionalised environment. In response, JRS Ireland is engaged in research and advocacy to secure durable solutions for those individuals and families living long term in Direct Provision.