An bhféadhfadh Éireannaigh maireachtáil ar an €19.10 sa tseachtain?
Asylum seekers in Ireland live in the Direct Provision system. This means that their accommodation, food, health and clothing costs are provided by the State. They also receive a weekly welfare payment of €19.10 for an adult and €9.60 for a each child. This rate was set in 2000 and is still the same, eight years later at the time this report was broadcast.
‘Pobal’ meets asylum seeker Justice Okpala, who has just received his Direct Provision Payment from Prussia Street post office,
As an asylum seeker in this country we are given shelter, food, but we are not allowed to work. The government says the system is fair and effective, and the €19.10 should be seen in the light of overall services provided to asylum seekers.
In the supermarket Celestina Ben from Liberia is shopping with her daughter she says it is not easy to manage, particularly if you have children.
For women asylum seekers, regular visits to the hairdressers are a huge expense that Blessing Okoli from Nigeria is unable to afford. Kundun Musse from Somalia finds even buying €5 phone credit to contact his friends and his doctor makes a big dent in his allowance:
I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t smoke, sometimes I want to have a cup of coffee with my friends and it is impossible to socialise.
Could Irish people live on a social welfare payment €19.10 per week? The answer from everyone is no, with one man admitting,
I wouldn’t be able to survive on €19.10 a day.
One woman doesn’t know how she would feed her family on it,
Impossible. It would hardly pay for milk and bread and potatoes for the week.
The Irish Refugee Council made a submission that the Direct Provision payment be increased to a more realistic €60 per week. An extra €40.90 would make a huge difference who are struggle to survive in this country.
This episode of ‘Pobal’ was broadcast on 16 March 2008. The presenters are Eloho Egwuterai and Eibhlín Ní Choistealbha.
‘Pobal’ was an Irish language regional and community affairs series presented by Síle Seoige, it was first broadcast on 15 October 2006, and ran until 2008. The editor was Michael Lally.