Lone parents with children living in Direct Provision face eviction after receiving letters from Department of Children

  • Date: 26/06/2024
  • Author: ActionAid Ireland
eviction notice letter

ActionAid Ireland has called on the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, to revoke eviction letters sent in recent months to mothers with children living in International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS), saying it could put them on the streets or into emergency accommodation in the next ten days.

Letters have been sent to people living in Direct Provision all over Ireland who have been granted international protection status to be gone from their accommodation by July 5th.

The letter from the Department of Children, Equality, Disability and Integration and Youth states:

“We do not have the capacity to continue to accommodate persons once they have received status to remain in Ireland…Owing to the urgent need we must now ask you to move to independent alternative accommodation in the community on Friday 5th July 2024.”

Mothers with children in Direct Provision supported by ActionAid Ireland under its Paving the Way programme, funded by the St. Stephens Green Trust, are devastated at the letter. They say they don’t know where they will live after July 5th.

Mothers have told ActionAid of the huge stress they are under with the burden of not knowing where they and their children will be living and being uprooted from the communities they have been integrating into since their arrival in Ireland.

Two mothers supported by ActionAid who received the letter have expressed their utter fear and exacerbation over the whole situation:

“Basically, (I’m) drained at the moment and don’t even know how to survive this…the fear of the unknown is getting the best of me…because down (in the) countryside is not where I will be taking my son…might as well get us a tent outside.” said one.
 
“I went to Mayo County Council to remind them that I’ll be homeless in 2 weeks and to ask what the way forward is. They told me IPAS said the council is under no obligation to provide us (with) emergency accommodation and that we should email IPAS if we need one. At this point, I’m lost. I’m devastated to say the least.”  said another.

ActionAid CEO, Karol Balfe, said it is shocking for the women to get the letter, with no offer of alternative accommodation in the area.

“It is simply not acceptable to ask vulnerable women and children to be out of their accommodation. The threat of eviction and the looming deadline of July 5th is causing high levels of stress for the parents and their children. For years the families have tried to integrate into their communities through their schools and local sports clubs, and they are heartbroken at the prospect of facing another move to an unknown place.”

Ms Balfe said:

ActionAid is supporting a small group of these women in Wicklow, Mayo and Cork. They have already suffered huge trauma and have been uprooted from their homes and forced to flee to Ireland in the first place due to conflict or crisis. They are devastated that they may have to move their children from school, and disrupt friendships and education.”

Ms Balfe said the reality is given the current accommodation crisis getting an alternative place to live may prove impossible.

“As single parents, not from Ireland and being people of colour, the challenges they face are compounded. There are several stories of landlords extorting people trying to leave Direct Provision frantically before the 5th of July because they know they are desperate.”

An exemption to the July 5th deadline has been granted to people over the age of 65 and to those with significant medical or welfare needs.

“ActionAid Ireland is now calling on the Minister of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth to extend the exemption to parents and their children.Ms Balfe said.
  

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