Leading Children’s Charities Demand Increase in Direct Provision Child Payment
Ireland’s leading children’s charities are holding a candlelit vigil at 5pm today outside Leinster House to demand an increase in direct provision child payments. The payment has not increased in nearly 16 years. It’s worth only €9.60 per week which is grossly insufficient to provide clothes, shoes, toys and other necessities essential for child development.
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive, Children’s Rights Alliance, said, “In June 2015, the Government’s Working Group Report on the Protection Process recommended that the payment for children living in direct provision be increased from €9.60 to €29.80. It is now nearly six months later and we need to see progress. As a member of the Working Group, it broke my heart to see the poverty that children in direct provision experience.
“This payment has not increased for nearly 16 years – not during the boom and certainly not during austerity. We cannot let another day pass without affording this small bit of dignity to these children.”
Grainia Long, CEO, ISPCC, said, “Barnardos, the Children’s Rights Alliance and the ISPCC have joined together today to remember those children living in direct provision this Christmas and demand this increase in their weekly payments.
“The more than 1,200 children living in direct provision face countless daily hardships. An increase in their allowance could provide a small bit of extra comfort, which is especially important at this time of year. It’s nothing short of a scandal that we provide so little to children who have experienced more disruption and uncertainty in their short lives than the vast majority of adults in this country.”
All three organisations note that the International Protection Bill is speeding its way through the Dáil and has failed to take on board the majority of recommendations made by the Working Group Report on the Protection Process. It is a missed opportunity to abolish the direct provision system and replace it with something more suitable and less damaging to children.
Fergus Finlay, CEO, Barnardos, said, “The average length people spend in direct provision centres is more than four years, with the longest delay reported being 11 years. For children this represents a massive portion of their lives.
“Direct provision is not working for adults; it’s not working for children; it’s not working full stop. It is clear the system must be abolished, but while it exists we must take immediate action to increase child payments.”