All those fleeing war and persecution must be treated equally

All those fleeing war and persecution must be treated equally

All those fleeing war and persecution must be treated equally


The Secretariat of Clare PPN has issued the following statement on behalf of our member organisations.

As the people of Ukraine face the horrors of war and displacement, we welcome the fact that Europe and Ireland are offering sanctuary to those fleeing this crisis. There has been an incredible response from communities in Clare and across Ireland to their arrival.

We welcome the Government’s response and we call for the same measures to be extended to all refugees and those seeking asylum. If Ireland can commit to providing social welfare, school places, children’s allowance and more for up to 200,000 people from Ukraine, we can do it for 7,000 people in Direct Provision.

We are concerned at the emergence of a two-tier system for those fleeing war and persecution. Rather than allowing this to happen, the response to this crisis should be an opportunity to improve the situation for all.

The 2020 Programme for Government and a White Paper in 2021 both committed to ending Direct Provision by 2024. The war in Ukraine has resulted in a far greater number of people living in emergency accommodation, but with the added problem that they are being treated in two very different ways. This is of huge concern to people who are stuck in Direct Provision, who had to go to court to fight for access to basic supports that recent arrivals are being granted automatically.

We also welcome the enhancement of the powers of local authorities to purchase houses and to fast-track the availability of vacant social housing, but we recognise that this must be extremely frustrating for those in our communities who have been enduring housing need. We call on the State to work for all those in need with the same concentrated effort.

We are also concerned at the transfer of huge amounts of public money to the owners of hotels and other private buildings. Most of the work so far in welcoming people fleeing the war in Ukraine has been undertaken by volunteers and voluntary organisations. These groups are under-resourced and they have received no extra financial resources to help them in this humanitarian effort, and yet there are huge State resources being used to pay private hotel owners to accommodate refugees.

This replicates the model of our housing system and highlights the urgent need to move to a human rights-based approach that gives everyone equal access and that sees the State taking a long-term view of how it spends public money.

We are certain our communities will continue to respond with empathy and practical support for those displaced by the unjustified invasion of Ukraine and we hope that this situation will help us build better, more cohesive communities, not create division. The Government can play a key role in this.

Human rights are for everyone or they are for no one.

Clare PPN Submission to DCYA in respect of their Statement of Strategy 2021-2023

November 4th 2020

Clare PPN made the attached submission to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth in response to their consultation on their Statement of Strategy 2021- 2023 Clare Public Participation Network Submission to Department of Children Equality Disability Integration and Youth Statement of Strategy November 2nd 2020

Postcards from the Edge: Aung Marma – ‘Meditation helps you stay calm”

Postcards from the Edge: Aung Marma – ‘Meditation helps you stay calm”

Postcards from the Edge: Aung Marma – ‘Meditation helps you stay calm’

Living in direct provision means Aung Marma is more vulnerable to infection from Covid-19. He worries, but also keeps calm by taking exercise, keeping busy and meditating

My name is Aung Marma. I was born in 1991. I’m originally from Bangladesh. My ethnicity is Marma, which is one of the 13 ethnic groups in Bangladesh. My religion by birth is Buddhism.

Bangladesh is predominantly Muslim, and for that reason most of our ethnic groups have to face fatality from Islamic extremists and we don’t get justice for what happened to us. Which is why we migrated to neighbouring countries, India and Burma.

As we are Buddhists, the impact of Islamist extremists came on us. Once we were attacked in 2003. Then I went to Sri Lanka for my safety and for further studies in 2008. And I started my studies at university level. In 2016, when I went back to see my mother who was sick, I was attacked by some Muslim settlers and I had flee to Burma for my life.

And from Burma I made a false passport and returned to Sri Lanka. From Sri Lanka I came to Ireland in June 2019 for my safety and to raise my voice for our people, who are suffering at the hands of extremists and are seeking refuge from the world. I hope my voice will be heard by the whole world someday.

So now I am here in Ireland, living as an asylum-seeker and living in the direct provision system.

Living in direct provision means you are more vulnerable to being infected by the Covid-19 virus, since we have to live with many people in the same building.

The Irish Government has taken the initial steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and the managers and workers in our centre have taken all the precautions to prevent infection from the virus. Honestly, I do not have any objections to the management and to the authorities.

I know this pandemic affects different people in different ways. I have seen that some of my friends seem very stressed worrying about their families and their

future. I do also worry, but I keep myself calm, knowing that the pandemic will be over sooner or later.

In Buddhism, the Buddha has taught us about Anicca (impermanence), Dukkha (suffering) and Anatta (constant change) – in this world every phenomenon is changeable and not permanent. If one comes to understand the truth as truth, so they can live in calm.

So my idea is to keep myself busy by doing activities. When you’re staying home, do some physical and mental exercise. Physical exercise can be done by yourself and mental exercise can be done by practising meditation. Meditation helps people to understand the reality of things by being attentive to what’s

going on around you. And meditation also helps you to see the impermanence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

I would like to ask people to be wiser and calmer to face this disaster and to take every precaution imposed by the authorities. I thank the Government of Ireland for taking the initial precautions for preventing the pandemic. And I would also like to see the laws and rules continue to be implemented until Covid-19 has been completely uprooted from Ireland.

I am well aware that people have reasons to break the rules of government, but if we break the rules we will have to face more fatalities from coronavirus, that is for sure. Therefore, we must be far-sighted and act wisely.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of all of the Clare PPN.

• We’d like to hear from you! Back to normal or time for radical change? We’re asking people for their views (in less than 350 words) on how to move forward together in Clare in the wake of Covid-19. You can win a €50 restaurant/take-away voucher. Details of how to submit here: