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Beyond the Pale: Asylum-Seeking Children and Social Exclusion in Ireland

Author(s): A. Veale B. Fanning


This report examines the experiences of asylum-seeking children in Ireland and the impact of 'direct provision' on asylum seeker child poverty and social exclusion. Forty-three households in Cork, Ennis and Limerick were selected for the research. Additionally, asylum-seeking children and asylum-seeking parents were interviewed in groups. The research demonstrates that asylum seekers experience a number of problems related to housing placement such as limited or no information about the communities they will be sent to, inability to afford extra food, overcrowding in hostels, lack of private space and absence of safe areas for children.

The report suggests that the system of ‘direct provision' has a direct negative impact on child poverty and social exclusion within Irish communities and therefore recommends that the system of ‘direct provision' be abolished. Further research findings include the following points:

  • The accommodation needs of asylum seekers should be properly evaluated during the initial reception period, whilst the accommodation of asylum-seeking parents and children in communal centres during the reception phase should only be used as a temporary and short-term measure.
  • As part of the integration process, asylum seekers who are yet to receive a definitive response with regard to their application for asylum should be granted the right to work after 6 months.
  • All asylum seekers should be entitled to state-funded employment training and community employment schemes. Comprehensive state-funded language tuition that is flexible and responsive to the needs of asylum seeker adults and children needs to be made widely available.
  • All schools with asylum-seeking children must be in a position to fully meet their language, cultural and religious needs.
  • Children of asylum seekers should be identified as a priority group within all policies and programmes aimed at addressing child poverty, wellbeing and social exclusion.


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Document information

Author(s): A. Veale B. Fanning


Irish Refugee Council



Main theme(s):

Independent Child Migration Migration with Families

Sub-theme(s): South - North

Tertiary theme(s): Asylum-Refugees

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Keywords: City - Cork City - Ennis City - Limerick Country - Ireland Direct provision Discrimination Housing placement Poverty


Document Report