Emancipate those in direct provision, actor Rea urges
ACTOR Stephen Rea will call on the Government to ‘emancipate’ asylum seekers from Irish direct provision centres at a political festival this week.
Rea, who starred in Hollywood movies The Crying Game, Interview With A Vampire and Michael Collins – will call for what he calls these ‘awful centres’ to be closed.
He will speak at the Temple Bar Festival of Politics this week, which will also feature one of Donald Trump’s campaign managers.
Rea will be joined by people with direct experience of direct provision, which they will say was introduced as an interim measure 18 years ago.
Rea gave the Irish Mail on Sunday a preview of the issues he intends to raise at the City Assembly House on South William Street in Dublin on Thursday.
‘We know what it is to migrate,’ said Mr Rea, ‘We know what political asylum means. Why are we not more responsive to the needs of these people?
‘Instead we’re putting them in awful centres with very limited resources and giving them a pittance, €21.60 a week... we shouldn’t be treating them as less than Irish citizens.’
Rea will draw parallels with Daniel O’Connell’s campaign for Catholic Emancipation in the 1840s and the apparent official lack of sympathy for asylum seekers.
The direct provision system was established in 2000 to house asylum seekers entering the State.
It was initially described as an interim system that would provide accommodation for a six-month period while individuals awaited an outcome to their applications. But processing asylum claims takes a long time.
Those living at the centres scattered around Ireland, are barred from seeking employment.
‘Its disgraceful, awful, and we need to emancipate these people from these awful centres,’ said Rea. ‘This is a really important issue.’
There were 5,096 men, women and children, including 801 families, living in the 34 direct provision centres across 17 counties in Ireland by the end of December 2017. Direct provision centres are located in hotels and disused holiday camps.
It was disclosed last year that the Louth businessman behind the former Mosney fun park, which is now used as a massive direct provision centre, is worth €45m. Phelim McCloskey bought former Mosney fun park for €800,000 in 1982. Mr McCloskey’s firm, Mosney, is controlled by an Isle of Man company. He bought the Mosney camp from Butlin’s for around £800,000 back in 1982.
Rea will host an evening of music and poetry in a rally for the ‘emancipation of those in direct provision’.
The Festival of Politics will run from 15-18 November at venues in and around Temple Bar in Dublin. Tickets are available at festivalofpolitics.ie
demANd: Stephen Rea is speaking at a Dublin festival