We’re still failing the vulnerable – Children in direct provision

Editorial from Irish Examiner on recent Direct Provision story.

WHEN those appalling, shaming reports about how vulnerable children were so mistreated in care homes were published, we took comfort in the suggestion that most people were unaware of what went on in these wretched institutions.

We may not have entirely believed that convenient fiction but it was the best we could do, it was a straw of decency we clutched at in a very dark moment.

However, we cannot use that excuse about the suspended lives of asylum seekers or the children born into the 15-year-old system of direct provision. We are all aware of the inhuman indignities underpinning a system that is one of enduring the black marks against our society.

That the Department of Justice does not know how many children have been born in direct provision just adds to the concerns around the process. The latest figures from the Reception and Integration Agency shows there are at least 1,225 children living in direct provision centres. No one can say how long they will be so confined or denied the opportunities all children need to become decent, worthwhile citizens. At a moment when the refugee crisis is bringing new challenges to Europe, this is a particularly worrying admission. Imagine if our system had to cope with numbers proportionate to those reaching Germany — a million this year alone — or Sweden, almost 200,000 this year. Unbelievably we are failing another generation of vulnerable children.

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