Tahir Mahmood died on 16 September 2013, aged forty-eight. Mahmood lived with his wife and four children in the Towers DP centre, in the Clondalkin suburb of Dublin. His illnesses meant he had difficulties walking, and found it extremely hard to get to the hospital. His requests for a transfer to a more centrally located accommodation centre, and for a hospital social worker, were refused, and he was not given the diet indicated by his liver problems in the centre.
In April 2015 conditions in the Clondalkin Towers DP centre were highlighted by a motion to Dublin City Council from Councillor Francis Timmons (Ind), to ‘highlight the poor conditions in direct provision centres across Ireland and also to call for a full report on the quality of life within the Towers.’ The Dublin Gazette spoke to an African man resident in Clondalkin Towers, who had been in the DP system for eight years. ‘Living here is like an open prison … I’m still in limbo and I don’t know why this process is taking so long … I’ve tried to commit suicide on two occasions, because of the effects that direct provision is having on my mental health.’
TD Eoin (SF) 30th March 2017 in Dail
I will reflect on my experience as a Deputy in Clondalkin. Clondalkin Towers, one of the largest direct provision centres, is in the constituency. Like many politicians, we work very closely with the residents at that location. Over the five or six years that I have been a public representative in the area, what has struck me most about direct provision is its purpose. Its purpose is to segregate people from the host community, to cut them off and make it more difficult for them to develop real relationships with the local community. That is probably one of the greatest shames of the system as it is designed. Other speakers have spoken about the cramped conditions, the inadequate eating and cooking facilities and the paltry payments that people receive. We all have stories of families who have been treated appallingly. There was one very prominent story a number of years ago of a family of two adults and three children in Clondalkin Towers. When the husband died after a prolonged illness, the family - adults and children - were expected to remain living in the same single bedroom. There is no justification that I can think of anywhere in the world that could support such a proposition. It is not just the length of time it is taking that is an issue, but the frustration with the process. People do not understand and are not being informed of what is happening at every stage.