100 signatures reached
To: Minister O'Gorman
Access to Nutrition in Direct Provision
This is a petition calling on Direct Provision Centres to allow their residents 24/7 access to food such as fruit, vegetables, and other healthy snacks. The majority of Direct Provision centres are run for profit and therefore it is Minister O'Gorman's responsibility as the Minister for Children, Disability, Equality, and Integration to ensure that provision of these snacks is essential and not an option.
Why is this important?
Direct Provision Centres are the accommodation provided to asylum seekers by the state (Citizensinformation.ie, 2021). A feature of the majority of these centres is that food is only available at set times, a breakfast, lunch, and evening meal (Citizensinformation.ie, 2021). This is highly problematic as the food is often inedible to the point that residents chose to skip the meal, meaning they are forced to go hungry (Barry, 2014). Similarly, any residents partaking in religious holidays such as Ramadan have no access to food at night when their fast is broken (Barry, 2014).
Food is a human right, as is the availability and accessibility of it (OHCHR, 2021). By making healthy snacks constantly available to residents in Direct Provision Centres, many issues would be addressed in an easy and cost effective way. However, the emphasis is on healthy. Currently there are strict limits on access to fruit, and the food served is very high in salt, sugar, and fat (Barry, 2014). This cannot be the case for the accessible snacks as it would defeat the purpose.
The White Paper was released in February and contains the government’s plan to abolish the Direct Provision system. While this is undoubtably a great step in the right direction, change is unlikely to occur before 2024 and these issues need to be addressed now. This petition is a call on Minister O’Gorman to enforce change in these centres immediately.
The following links contain further, more detailed, information regarding the numerous nutritional issues faced by Asylum Seekers in Ireland:
Barry, K. (2014) What’s Food Got To Do With It: Food Experiences of Asylum Seekers in Direct Provision. Nasc, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre.
Citizensinformation.ie (2021) Direct provision system. Citizensinformation.ie. Available at: https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/moving_country/asylum_seekers_and_refugees/services_for_asylum_seekers_in_ireland/direct_provision.html
OHCHR | OHCHR and the right to food (2021). Available at: https://www.ohchr.org/En/Issues/ESCR/Pages/food.aspx