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Ireland and its vulnerable “others”: the reception of asylum seekers in Ireland

Bairbre Ní Chiosáin
p. 85-104


In Ireland, the system of Direct Provision, where asylum seekers are dispersed around the country and housed in accommodation centres on a full-board basis, has been in existence since 2000. This article examines this policy and how it has evolved since its introduction. Using a rights-based approach, it describes the problems encountered by asylum seekers living in these centres, outlines the criticisms made by organisations, both Irish and international, and analyses how the State authorities respond to such criticisms. It argues that the government has been more preoccupied with reducing the perceived “pull factor” than with respecting its international human rights obligations.

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Full text document will be published online on November 2018.


The introduction of Direct Provision
The problems of direct provision
Accommodation conditions
Financial situation
Children’s rights
Problems with service providers
Opposition to direct provision
Government response
The Working Group on the Protection Process and Direct Provision

First lines

This article examines Ireland’s policy regarding the reception of asylum seekers, describes the living conditions of people in the direct provision system and assesses to what extent it is adapted to their needs, drawing in particular on numerous primary sources and media reports spanning the decade and a half of the existence of direct provision. Asylum seekers are in a very vulnerable position, having to wait, sometimes for years, before knowing if they are to be granted refugee status and consequently, permission to stay in Ireland, or if they are to be deported back to the countries they left for political, economic or other reasons. During this time, as a result of the direct provision system, they are marginalised, and their children grow up in difficult circumstances. This article carries out a rights-based analysis of the problems directly related to the system of direct provision. It also outlines criticism of government policy emanating from both national and international...

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Bibliographical reference

Bairbre Ní Chiosáin, « Ireland and its vulnerable “others”: the reception of asylum seekers in Ireland », Études irlandaises, 41-2 | 2016, 85-104.

Electronic reference

Bairbre Ní Chiosáin, « Ireland and its vulnerable “others”: the reception of asylum seekers in Ireland », Études irlandaises [Online], 41-2 | 2016, Online since 30 November 2018, connection on 17 January 2018. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/etudesirlandaises.4992

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About the author

Bairbre Ní Chiosáin

Université de Toulouse 1 Capitole

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© Presses universitaires de Rennes

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