Bulletin: Issue 38

 
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Direct Provision to Independent Living

In 2015, a large number of our friends and service-users have been granted permission to remain in Ireland and now have the opportunity to rebuild their lives in Limerick. 

Doras Luimní have a dedicated volunteer support worker, who assists people moving on from Direct Provision and into independent housing. This service provides assistance to find a house, accompaniment to viewings, help completing HAP and social welfare applications, and any other support that might be needed throughout the process.

A recent survey by Simon community highlighted that 95% of properties available to rent were over the rent allowance and Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) limits. While finding available accommodation at reasonable prices is difficult and can take time, one of the greatest challenges for people leaving Direct Provision is securing a deposit. 

Having spent up to 10 years living on a weekly allowance of €19.10, unable to work and often socially excluded from community life, securing upwards of €400 for a deposit is a huge task and virtually impossible for many. Other challenges include the impact of institutional living, limited social networks, and navigating complicated welfare systems.

If you or someone you know has received permission to remain and needs help to access housing and welfare support, please contact Derek in Doras Luimní on 061310328. 

Overview of 2015 at Doras Luimní

Throughout 2015, Doras Luimní experienced an increase in our case load, with new issues presenting as well as a general increase in asylum applications. 

The main focus of our work in 2015 continued to be assisting asylum seekers with their protection claims. Throughout the year there was significant progress with regard to the processing of applications for leave to remain for people in the system for more than 5 years. Though this is an informal process, significant numbers of people received positive decisions and we hope that this trend will continue in 2016. We urge the Government to consider formalising this process and to systematically grant permission to remain.
In total, Doras Luimní worked on 1,690 cases with people from over 60 countries. Key issues that presented to us included:
  • Asylum applications;
  • Family reunification;
  • Citizenship applications;
  • Visas and travel documents; 
  • Domestic violence;
  • Undocumented migrants;
  • Sexual and labour exploitation;
  • Social welfare;
  • Deportation;
  • Access to education & health; 
  • Homelessness & housing.
 
Variety of issues presenting in 2015:
 


Service users are from over 60 countries worldwide.
 
Greater supports and resources are urgently needed to ensure the effective integration of all asylum seekers and refugees in Ireland. We hope that the Government will consider this need a priority in 2016 and address the current shortfall in resources and funding allocated. 

Migrant Participation in the General Election 2016

Doras Luimní have been encouraging and supporting particpation in the upcoming elections, including voter registration and information sessions on the voting and election process. Our information material has been distributed far and wide and we are delighted with the level of interest and participation to date.

Since the last election, Ireland has almost 100,000 new citizens, many of whom will be voting in the election on 26th February for the first time.  

On Sunday 8th February we hosted an interactive workshop for people interested in learning more about the political and voting process in Ireland. This event was facilitated by Dr Maura Adsheed from the University of Limerick, Politics Department. We are very grateful to Garda David O'Connell who was present on the day to assist with voter registration.



Thanks to all who came along and we look forward to engaging with you over the coming weeks in preparation for the elections. Please contact Aideen at a.roche@dorasluimni.org or call 061310328 for details or assistance.

 Further information is also available on our website: 
Voting in the General Election (Link to Doras website). 

Alternatives to Direct Provision 

Doras Luimní has long called for an end to Direct Provision, a system that is widely regarded to be unfit for purpose and  has proven to damage the physical and mental health of the people who are forced to live within it. 

The Working Group on the Protection Process and Direct Provision, which concluded in June 2015, was not tasked with exploring alternatives to Direct Provision.   

On 27th January, Minister Aodhán Ó'Ríordáin claimed that no NGO had put forward a proposal for an alternative reception system, despite repeated discussions and engagement from organisation such as Doras Luimní and the Irish Refugee Council, who published a report on alternative models in 2013. Furthermore, the EU Directive on Receptions Conditions set out the minimum standards to which all Member States should adhere when developing a reception system for asylum seekers. 

We put together this simple graphic to remind the Minister of the key points that need to be included. Ireland has not signed the EU Directive on Reception Conditions, which sets out the minimum standards and would give employment rights to asylum seekers 9 months after an application  for asylum is lodged. 

Click the link to access the Irish Refugee Council report "Framing an alternative reception system for people seeking international protection in Ireland." You can also consider writing to the Minister, calling for an end to Direct Provision and outlining what you think an alternative reception system in Ireland should look like. #EndDP   

Hate Crime Legislation - New ENAR campaign


A new ENAR Ireland campaign calling for hate crime legislation to be introduced in Ireland was launched in Dublin on 28th January. As part of the campaign, ENAR Ireland are asking supporters to sign a petition which will be delivered to the Department of Justice on 21st March. 

To find out more about the campaign, visit the campaign page on the ENAR Ireland website: LoveNotHateSign and share the petition here: LoveNotHate petition.

Intercultural Job Skills Training - Foundations for Work

Foundations for Work is an intercultural job skills training course developed by Doras Luimní in conjunction with 5 European partners. The course aims to increase the integration of young immigrants into the labour market of their host countries by allowing them to acquire the basic competences and transferable work skills needed to open up progression opportunities either directly into employment and/or to further vocational qualifications.

We were delighted to welcome Mr. Michael Onalimi, Creator and Founder of Flavour Safari™ Sauce Range, as a guest presenter to our Foundations for Work programme in Portlaoise on 20th January. Michael, who is originally from Nigeria, spoke to the group about bringing his business idea to fruition and the challenges and opportunities involved in setting up a business in Ireland.

Flavour Safari ™ is Ireland’s first African inspired sauce range, which Michael explained are “made from the freshest of Irish ingredients, infused with the finest of African Spices”. His sauces are now available in various SuperValu Stores across the Midlands with plans for expansion across the country over the next few months.

15 people are currently participating on the programme in Portlaoise – including asylum seekers from the Montague Direct Provision centre and programme refugees who have recently resettled in Co. Laois.

Pictured is Michael Onalimi and Foundations for Work trainer Peter Turner.

Lifelong Learning Festival


This year's Lifelong Learning Festival will be held from April 16th to 22nd, with a showcase event in Thomond Park on Saturday 16th April to kick off the festival.

If you are interested in participating, the deadline for submitting an application is  19th February 2016. For information on how to get involved, please visit: Lifelong Learning Festival 

English classes

Our English classes started up again on 18th January with over 40 learners attending class twice a week. Classes are run by our dedicated team of volunteers, many of whom have been with Doras Luimní since the very beginning over 15 years ago!

If you or someone you know is interested in learning basic level English, please come to our office to complete an application form. The next round of assessments will be carried out in end of March for the following class term. 

In the meantime, there are conversational English classes every Wednesday morning from 10am - 12pm in Christ Church hall (behind the Doras Luimní office) and all are very welcome to attend. 

Please contact Doras Luimní at info@dorasluimni.org or call 061310328 for further details. 

Donations needed

Refugees leaving Direct Provision need your help to get settled in to their new homes in Limerick. Surviving on €19.10 per week for up 10 years can be very challenging and setting up a new home can put a huge financial strain on people who have lived in such conditions.

We have a large number of people currently in need of basic items to help make the transition to independent living. The immediate needs are bed sheets; towels and duvets. If you are able to donate new listed items, please get in contact with Aideen at Doras Luimní at a.roche@dorasluimni.org or call 061310328. 

Vacancies in Doras Luimní

We are recruiting! Two new positions are currently open for application, both of which will be based in our busy Limerick city centre office. Deadline for application is Friday 26th February 2016 at 5pm. Please see our website for details of the two roles and how to apply: Vacancies (Link to Doras website)

New Opening Hours - 2016

Since Monday 1st February 2016, Doras Luimní is now closed every Wednesday and Friday. Our drop-in hours are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday morning, with appointments available for the afternoon. Apologies for any inconvenience that this may cause!

If you have a story you would like to share with us or would like to feature your event, please contact Aideen at Doras Luimní at a.roche@dorasluimni.org.
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