We are not powerless to begin in the process of global healing
the-good-samaritanThe story of refugees throughout the world in the 21st century is not getting any better.  The United Nations Refugee Agency announced recently that 3 million people from Syria alone are now refugees, forced through terror, to abandon their homes and secure livelihoods to find safety in another land.   This century, only 14 years old, has so far seen over 50 million people flee their countries of origin and become refugees.  More than during the Second World War!  We are witnessing another exodus, this time almost global in scope. Recently Pope Francis likened the terrible violence, unrest and killings in so many countries to a third World War.

Deciding to leave one's country and all that is familiar because of war or other extremity, is an act of utter desperation.  What would it take for any of us to feel the necessity of doing that? Fear of our next door neighbour threatening us for some imagined crime?  Fear of loved ones dying of hunger? Fear of bombs falling from the sky?  Fear of invasion followed by rape or other personal assault? Fear of being forced to stand by and watch one's loved ones being tortured and / or slaughtered?  Fear of a chemical attack where the contamination spreads silently, leaves horrible, disfiguring burns, or else kills outright?  These are the reasons that people are leaving there homes for today.

“The United Nations High Commission for Refugees Global Trends report says at the end of last year less than one million (asylum seekers) were in the wealthiest countries of Europe, including Ireland. In Britain the number was 150,000. France 280,000. Germany 330,000.   Ireland has over 4,300 living in reception centres, of whom over 1,600 are children. Yet in other, much poorer countries the desire to erect barriers to entry does not seem to be a priority: Pakistan has taken in 1.6 million, and tiny Jordan 600,000.

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HOPE FOR CHANGE AT LAST ?
Direct provision has been consistently challenged by activists, politicians and human rights lawyers by advocacy and in the courts over the past few years with numerous articles on the topic, including some of those below,  linked to on this website. The system has been widely condemned. Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly, former Supreme Court Judge Catherine McGuinness, refugee support groups and childcare expert Geoffrey Shannon amongst others have claimed that Ireland is in breach of constitutional and European human rights.

Yet every challenge and criticism has, up to now, washed over or been soaked up by government authorities without any change.  Is there finally light at the end of the tunnel?  This article by Liz O’Donnell in the Irish Independent (26 July 2014) points to a change of attitude with the appointment of the new Labour Minister of State Aodhan O Riordain at the Department of Justice.  Is there hope at last that the Direct Provision system will be reformed?  Read more

 

racism ireland
Are we a Racist Nation?

There are more people living in “Direct Provision Centres” in this country than in prison! At the start of 2014, the total was 4,360 people. This compares to a prison population of 4,053 in Ireland in February 2014.

In a recent Irish Times article by Dr. Liam Thornton, Law Lecturer in UCD Sutherland School of Law, he stated: 'That such a system (of direct provision) has been allowed develop over time may be unfortunate, that there is no urgency in reform to direct provision is unforgivable.’ There have been many protests about this direct provision system, but, according to Dr Thornton, there has been little public engagement on the issue.

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Call to end the Direct Provision System.
A conference on the issues facing asylum seekers has heard children as young as 11 have threatened suicide as a result of their living conditions.  Read more 

 

Changes at Cois Tine
The Cois Tine office in Popes Quay closed on the 28 of February.   From now on Cois Tine will be based in the SMA Justice Office, Society of African Missions, Wilton, Cork.  For any inquiries please telephone 021 4933475.  The old Cois Tine number is now discontinued.

Cois Tine will continue to exist although in a reduced form – the following elements will continue.

- A small group of volunteers will continue to visit Accommodation Centres. 

- Participation in inter-agency groups and meetings concerning Asylum Seekers/Immigrants.

- This web site will be maintained as a source of information, to advocate on behalf of asylum seekers and to provide resources for Church and community Groups who wish to include and welcome immigrants into their communities.

- Cois Tine will continue to work with NASC the Irish Immigrant Support Centre.

- Work to promote the acceptance and inclusion of immigrants in the Church and local community will also continue – e.g. via the Cois Tine website and through delivery of presentations to Parish and Community groups.

- Cois Tine’s involvement in promoting Christian Muslim Dialogue and understanding will also continue – via website, through participation in events and through delivery of presentations and training.

 

 

NOTICE BOARD

OPEN SECRETS - free Kindle download

OPEN SECRETS - free Kindle download

Open Secrets: An Irish Perspective on Trafficking and Witchcraft. To mark the first anniversary of its publication the Kindle version of the Book is now being made available free of charge and can be downloaded from Amazon.com.  Hard copies of the book are still available for purchase directly from the SMA Justice Office, African Missions, Wilton, Cork. Email: justice@sma.ie  Cost: €19.10  

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