Drop and Run

A Direct Provision centre opened in Lisdoonvarna back in March. It was a turbulent start as seems to be the norm in response to the Reception and Integration Agency practises. They make deals behind closed doors with property owners and then tell the host community within weeks of completely transforming their population. That number was 115 people coming to Lisdoonvarna within weeks. Despite promises to stagger the arrival dates people were moved in much quicker than promised.

If you’ve read my earlier blogs, here and here, you will know that the community was pretty shocked at this news. In time the people rallied around the asylum seekers and have been doing what they can to help them settle into Lisdoonvarna. My blog has been very quiet as I have been too busy! We’ve been supplementing the basic resources of direct provision and helping to get residents out of the hotel by giving them somewhere to go. At this time we have Art & Crafts on a Monday, Childrens Talent Camp on Tuesdays, Coffee mornings on Thursdays and a whole group who have trained up to teach English through conversation with Failte Isteach. Residents also get to go swimming once a week in Lahinch. Much of this was facilitated by the establishment of LINKS Lisdoonvarna Is Nurturing Knowledge and Solidarity.

The Department of Justice has Communities Integration funding, CIF and we made sure that as many groups as possible applied so that we, as a community, would be in a better position to support the residents getting involved with the community. Most groups got word today that their applications were unsuccessful. I was pretty surprised as I did think that because this was a new centre there would be some support to help the community mobilise. I will repeat that – we have received absolutely no funding from the RIA since they announced they were opening the centre in Lisdoonvarna. We – as in the community groups wanting to help residents participate and integrate.

Here is the implementation report for CIF 2017 where you can see a breakdown of the funding applications. Dublin communities received much greater funding than rural areas even though they’ve fewer centres. There’s also much more going on in Dublin than in rural communities where we’ve to generate activities. I am completely biased here but I believe that money would be better spent supporting the every day groups within a community than splashing out on festivals or golf courses if there’s not enough to go around. That said I have had an issue with the department from the start in so far as there was no support for the ordinary community. We could really have done with a small grant to get our coffee mornings going, to cover costs to rent a space for activities, to support the struggling toddler group. A thousand euro would be well spent on getting people together and given that’s what integration is surely it should be forthcoming as soon as a centre is planned for a community. What are we to do? Wait and try again next year?? What happens in the meantime???

This drop and run practice by the RIA has to be challenged. They might promise the schools something. They might promise the creche something. They might promise the doctor something. What about the locals? The people who are on the frontline doing what they can to help integration when the asylum seekers are not in school, creche or sick? We have been let down from the start. As ever the RIA, like so many other areas of government, depend upon volunteers fund raising and doing their work for them. No more.

Theresa O’Donohoe

August 1st 2018

This is what LINKS applied for and was turned down.





Published by Theresa OD

Change maker and mother of 5 living in the west of Ireland

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