Dear honourable members of Dáil Éireann,
After many months of collaboration, the essential working asylum seeker community have decided to humbly approach the Dáil for assistance. We are requesting favourable consideration in granting us leave to remain in Ireland, in recognition of the contributions made to the Irish economy and society during the pandemic.
As known to you, we are refugees who have had to leave our countries of origin because of “a well-founded fear of persecution because of reasons including their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. Ireland is a signatory to the “1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees”, which obliges the Irish Government to provide protection to people fleeing their country for the reasons above.
This is not an exciting journey or comfortable option in any sense. We live without our families, we left them for their safety and benefit. Asylum seekers generally live in direct provision accommodation centres around the country, meaning they are provided with accommodation and food, but with little privacy or independence. We are determined to integrate into society as Irish tax payers and build a future for ourselves and our families.
We are out there doing the best we can to contribute to Ireland. However, this has not been made easy for us. We have had to find our way to work, come rain, snow, or sunshine. We have been denied the basic right to drive, so we find ourselves walking or cycling for hours to get to our place of work. Some of the places we live are so remote that bus services are either not available or very limited. We have not complained about this, we want to contribute, and we are, despite the obstacles and challenges faced.
FRONTLINE WORKERS IN DIRECT PROVISION
There are between 500-800 essential working asylum seekers currently risking their lives every day during this pandemic. Asylum seekers with a wide range of qualifications are reporting for duty. From healthcare workers, carers, cleaners, cooks, security guards, food factory production, general operatives, construction and metal industry. Asylum seekers are making a difference to the everyday lives of Irish people, we are proudly contributing and paying taxes. We are a vital part of the efforts to make Ireland a better place and healthier community.
We are “essential workers” during this pandemic. Numerous countries including; Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Canada have recognised the contribution made by asylum seekers working on the frontline during the Covid-19 pandemic, by granting them full citizenship rights and permission to remain in recognition of their selfless efforts to care for the vulnerable. We, Ireland’s essential working asylum seekers, are seeking the same recognition from the Irish government.
We are humans crying out for recognition of our efforts and dedication. Treat us like you would want to be treated, show us you care and understand our needs. Grant us and others like us the privilege to voice our concerns and to find a solution to achieve our stated goals:
● Leave to remain for all front-line essential workers,
● Freedom for our children, Ireland’s future adults,
● To be treated as citizens of this country, with dignity, grace, and respect.
Essential workers IN DIRECT PROVISION