NUIG researchers call on election candidates to lay out direct provision plans

‘Ask about Direct Provision’ campaign sees responses from all candidates posted on Twitter

Several parties have promised to phase out direct provision if they are in government after the general election.

Candidates are being asked to publicly share their views on direct provision and the future of the asylum system as part of a campaign run by researchers from the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway.

The response from the Fianna Fáil leader shows Micheál Martin committing to "phase out the privatisation of direct provision" and ensure "applications process times are expedited".

In his response, Sinn Féin’s Eoin Ó Broin directed researchers to a previous statement he made in 2018 on the asylum system in which he described direct provision as “a system derived by private profit” and proposed that housing be provided for asylum seekers by approved housing bodies.


Jan O'Sullivan of Labour said the party would end the direct provision system, improve working rights and move responsibility for accommodating asylum seekers from the Department of Justice to the Department of Rural and Community Affairs.

Ellen O'Malley Dunlop of Fine Gael told the campaign direct provision needed structural reforms with shorter application timeframes and increased community resources.

‘Cruel system’

The Social Democrats’ Linda Hayden described direct provision as a “cruel system” that should end with applicants having access to a range of therapies.

Malcolm Noonan from the Green Party said his party was committed to ending direct provision in the next Dáil and replacing it with “good quality accommodation” for asylum seekers awaiting a decision on their application.

Adrienne Wallace from People Before Profit described the system as “a blatant attack on human rights” and said she was committed to ending direct provision.

The campaign, entitled Ask About Direct Provision, seeks to “put a spotlight” on the asylum system during the election campaign and to ensure candidates are held to account on their promises.

Researchers from the NUI Galway Masters of Law programme and Human Rights Law Clinic say they have contacted all candidates nationwide to establish their position on direct provision and ask what they would change about the system.

Publicly available

Responses to the question have been made publicly available on the @AskAboutDP Twitter page since the campaign launched last Friday.

"Housing and healthcare are rightly dominating election discussion at the moment," said researcher Stacy Wrenn, one of the creators of the campaign. "Appropriate housing and healthcare are hugely important for people who come to Ireland seeking international protection, as is their right under international and European law."

The campaign, which is being run in partnership with the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland, aims to make direct provision a key election issue while informing the public of candidates’ stance on the issue, said Ms Wrenn.

She added that the project was not seeking to endorse any particular candidate or political party and that all responses would be shared on Twitter without redactions.

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast