A Female asylum seeker left DP after 15 months because of serious concerns about the mental health of one of her children, who had attempted suicide. The woman moved to Dublin, where she lived with a friend in rented accommodation.
Her child made a second suicide attempt and was hospitalised. As she had no income, the woman applied for supplementary welfare allowance, which was unsuccessful.
Her appeal was also rejected but she finally won an appeal lodged with the Social Welfare Appeals Office following a delay of more than eight months.
However, the HSE had not implemented the appeal decision, with Ms O’Reilly claiming the family was then left “in a very vulnerable position”.
Claiming there would have been a scandal if an Irish family had endured such treatment, Ms O’Reilly wrote: “I found myself facing the difficult question of how we, as a society, have allowed these very unacceptable arrangements to develop and continue in place for more than a decade.”
Globe House direct provision centre in Sligo had a “rat infestation” in the hostel.
Residents have raised fears over health and safety after a man was allegedly bitten by a rat while sleeping in his room. The man, who declined to give his name, says he was bitten by the rodent on his ear during the night in early March.
His injury was confirmed by a local GP, who reported that the man had suffered a “minor abrasion” to his left ear.
The man says he became aware of the rat problem at the centre when he was moved from a room on the first floor to one in the basement.
“I saw all the rat traps when I came down to the room. At night I would feel nipping on my toes and when I turned on the lights I noticed there had been rats.
“Half the people here are already traumatised and now there are rats. My mental health can only improve if I leave this place. I’m very scared for my health.”
He says he has suffered nightmares since he was bitten.
“A day in Direct Provision is full of boredom, and stress and anxiety about whether you’re allowed to stay in the country or not. It’s life in limbo. I had €19.10 a week to live on. I was in the middle of nowhere in a one-street town. I was allowed to go to Galway and Castlebar, but I didn’t have the money to travel so I was forced to remain in the town, that’s why people call it an open prison. You’re forced to live in those incarcerated sites.
I was sharing a room with five men, they were strangers who became friends. We coped. People were really suffering. Mental health is an omnipresent issue in Direct Provision. You don’t know how to fill your day. People survive with the coping mechanisms they brought with them from home.
I woke up in the morning at 7am or 7.30am. You would have a restless night’s sleep because you would be worrying. You would have cereal or porridge for breakfast. You had to go to the canteen for every meal. It was three years of no cooking. It was chicken nuggets, chips and sausages. Between breakfast and lunch you would go for a walk. We built a table tennis table from two MDF panels.
People were really bored, they would stay in bed late for hours, then get up for lunch.
We got seven pieces of fruit per person per week. You had to queue every Tuesday. The queuing was very humiliating.
Your money went on phone calls. You bought phone credit to talk to your families.
Direct Provision is a stain on Irish society. I will never forget the brothers and sisters who are still incarcerated.”