March 1st 2018
Clare Public Participation Network Statement on the proposal to open a direct provision centre for asylum seekers in Lisdoonvarna
This week Clare PPN received an informal request to provide a chairperson for a public meeting between the community in Lisdoonvarna and RIA the Reception and Integration Agency which has the responsibility for the procurement and administration of state provided services for asylum seekers and refugees. RIA were responsible for the tender process which determined that the King Thomond Hotel in Lisdoonvarna was a suitable location for a direct provision centre. Following a meeting of the secretariat of Clare PPN which took place on February 27th 2018 Clare PPN turned down the invitation to chair the meeting in Lisdoonvarna which took place last night.
At Clare Public Participation Network’s plenary meeting which took place on November 30th 2017 those attending from Clare PPN’s Social Inclusion College identified ending the system of direct provision and working to support those currently living in direct provision in Clare as one of the priority areas for Clare PPN in 2018. Clare PPN secretariat decided that chairing a meeting between the community and those who wish to open a direct provision centre would compromise the position taken by its social inclusion members which committed Clare PPN to lending its support to efforts to end the system of direct provision in Ireland.
Clare PPN’s secretariat and social inclusion representatives fully recognise and agree with Ireland’s obligations to accept and support asylum seekers, refugees and migrants. They furthermore consider that diversity and inward migration are beneficial to host communities and in particular to rural Ireland where populations are declining. Clare PPN secretariat and social inclusion representatives do not however consider the system of direct provision suitable for the needs of asylum seekers. They insist that system of direct provision itself is a barrier to integration, to family life and to self- sufficiency which denies those within it the opportunity to reach their potential and to live safe dignified lives. Clare PPN has previously taken action to support the resettlement of refugees in various areas in Clare and will continue to do so when the opportunity presents itself. Clare PPN will do its best within its resources to ensure that it supports and welcomes the people who come to live in direct provision in Clare and reaches out to those already living in the direct provision centre in Knocknalisheen, whilst continuing to voice its opposition to the system of direct provision which it considers an abuse of human rights and a failure of the state.
Clare PPN would further recommend that communities should be fully informed and consulted on all plans that affect them and notes that consultations with relevant stakeholders such as schools, doctors and other service providers do not appear to have taken place in Lisdoonvarna. Representatives from Clare PPN attended the meeting which took place last night in Lisdoonvarna and noted that many people attending raised concerns that could easily have been addressed through proper planning, information sharing and consultation. Clare PPN calls on RIA and the Department of Justice to act in the interests both of asylum seekers and host communities to ensure that the necessary services, staff vetting and resource provision take place before any attempt to relocate people to any area.
About Clare PPN
Clare PPN is a network of community, voluntary, environmental and social inclusion groups from Clare. It exists to facilitate the formal participation by the community sector in Clare County Council’s decision making structures. It is funded jointly by the Department of Housing, Planning Environment Community and Local Government and Clare County Council but is independent and its activities are directed by its members through an elected secretariat.