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What are my rights in Direct Provision in Ireland?

Learn more about your rights as a young person in Direct Provision

Written by Children's Rights Alliance and posted in life

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This factsheet is an extract from the publication Know Your Rights: The Rights of Children and Young People published by the Children's Rights Alliance. It is reproduced here with their kind permission. Know Your Rights is a public information project designed to inform everyone, in plain language, of the rights and entitlements children have in Ireland and where to go when they are not respected.

If you come to Ireland seeking International Protection as a young person with your family, while your application is being processed, you and your family will be placed to live in Direct Provision

Direct Provision is a system used in Ireland since 2000 to accommodate and provide basic welfare to asylum seekers. Direct Provision centres are also known as accommodation or reception centres. They were originally designed as a short-term solution to provide accommodation for up to six months to people while they waited for an outcome on their asylum applications.

What are my rights as a young person in Direct Provision?

If you apply for International Protection and are with your family, you will get accommodation and food through a system called Direct Provision. Your family will also get a medical card so you will be able to get free healthcare. 

Where will I live while in Direct Provision?

The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) runs the Direct Provision accommodation system and decides where you will live. RIA may also transfer you and your family to a different accommodation centre while you are in the Direct Provision system.

Financial support while in Direct Provision

While in Direct Provision while under the age of 18, your parent or parents will get a weekly payment of €38.80 each and €29.80 each for you and any siblings you may have. You may also get money for clothes, usually twice a year, but you do not have an automatic right to this. Your parents cannot receive Child Benefit or other social welfare payments for you. They may be entitled to some payments if they are working and meet the requirements.

What services can I access while in Direct Provision?

  • You can go to primary and post-primary school on the same basis as an Irish citizen child
  • You have a right to access legal representation through the Refugee Legal Service (RLS), a section of the Legal Aid Board. The Irish Refugee Council also provides legal services see their website

Do I have a right to work if I am in Direct Provision?

If you are waiting for a decision on your first application for International Protection for more than nine months, you can apply for permission to work.

As a young person under the age of 18 you can also apply for permission to work. If your permission is granted you will have the same restriction on hours and minimum wage entitlements as other young people. If you apply for the right to work it also gives you the right to access vocational training.

You can find more information on the process on the INIS website.

Do I have the right to be protected from neglect, harm and abuse in Direct Provision?

Yes. No matter where you are from, all children and young people in Ireland have the right to be protected from all forms of abuse, neglect and harm.

If you feel you are being neglected, harmed or abused, you or an adult you trust should contact your local social worker in Tusla. To find out their contact details see the Tusla website.

  • If you need help in an emergency or outside office hours, contact your nearest Garda station or ring the emergency phone line, either 999 or 112
  • If you are worried about yourself or a friend, you can talk to Childline. This is a confidential and free service for children

Need more information?

We are here to answer your questions and talk through your options. Our online chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm. Chat to us now about your situation.

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Published June 2nd2020
Last updated Sep­tem­ber 18th2020
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