Department of Justice blasted over ‘inhumane’ eviction letters sent to asylum seekers

Fiona Hurley
Fiona Hurley

Nasc has condemned eviction letters sent to asylum seekers in Direct Provision as “one of the most inhumane actions we have ever seen come out of the Department of Justice”.

The immigrant support centre said the Department’s Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) was “actively seeking to make asylum seekers homeless and destitute”.

Fiona Hurley, Nasc’s legal services manager, said: “It has come to Nasc’s attention this week that RIA is issuing letters to certain single, male asylum seekers who are on deportation orders, that they must vacate direct provision by a certain date.

“Several of those who have presented to Nasc with this letter in the last several days have been on deportation orders for several years, which have not been effected by the State, often from countries that Ireland could not deport to, such as Palestine and Somalia.

“In addition, RIA is also now refusing readmission requests from people who are on deportation orders, who are already homeless and living on the streets. We are currently working with several people in this situation.”

The letter says the RIA “has no role in the provision of accommodation to persons once a decision has been made on their application”.

Ms Hurley (pictured) continued: “Up until now, RIA has housed asylum seekers on deportation orders – some for upwards of seven or more years. This letter shows a catastrophic shift in policy, which will actively make those on deportation orders that have not been effected by the State at severe risk of homelessness and destitution.”

Nasc said that asylum seekers have no entitlements to social welfare, so cannot access homeless services, and would have no entitlement to the Direct Provision Allowance after vacting Direct Provision.

Ms Hurley said: “These people will be left entirely destitute, without access to services or housing. Across the board, people who are pushed into homelessness have difficulties accessing services. Now imagine a scenario where you have a person without a residency permission, without entitlement to supports, without even any identity documents, who cannot return to their country of origin, on the streets because the State has decided it is no longer willing to support them.

“It is one of the most inhumane actions we have ever seen come out of the Department of Justice. Whether they like it or not, the Department has a duty of care, to provide housing to people who have claimed asylum and who seek accommodation from it until such time as those people are either granted asylum or subsidiary protection, granted leave to remain or leave the country voluntarily or by deportation.

“RIA must immediately cease issuing these letters, and clarify their duty of care to people who have claimed asylum who are still residing in the State.”

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