Lives in Limbo – Asylum Seekers in Ireland





A section entitled “Lives in Limbo” on the The Irish Times website details the lives of migrants (asylum-seekers) residing in Ireland’s direct provision centres. It contains information on these centres and the current situation of those residing in direct provision. It states that the average time a person resides in direct provision in Ireland is three years and eight months. Also, Ireland has one of the lowest acceptance rates for asylum seekers in Europe.

The most gripping aspect of “Lives in Limbo” are the photographs of migrants, the photographs of living spaces, and a series of short, but gripping interview videos. Providing public access to photographs and videos of these migrants literally puts a face on the often abstract concept of asylum. The videos provide heart-rending accounts of life in direct provision. These people speak about not being allowed to work, mental health issues, and the lack of space, privacy, and independence. Most especially concerning are the video accounts of children who are faced with uncertainty on a daily basis. The children speak quite eloquently about not living in a “normal” home environment and about how they do not have space to play with friends or to study for school.

The Irish Times also published a map of the location of these centres in Ireland. In 2013 there were 34 centres with a capacity for 5,000 residents. A link is also provided to the Asylum Archive, which lists these centres and contains photographs of the buildings.


“Lives in Limbo” concludes with links to articles that were published in the Irish Times on various aspects of this topic. Of significant interest are “How asylum became a business” and “Could direct provision be the subject of a future government apology“. This month, the Irish President Michael D. Higgins criticised direct provision accommodation in Ireland, stating: “The system of Direct Provision by which they [asylum seekers] are put in to places of accommodation and may remain there for eight to ten years is totally unsatisfactory, almost in every aspect of it.”


Aerial Photograph of Refugee Camp in DRC


Celine Schmitt from the UNHCR tweeted this powerful photograph of a refugee camp in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). These people are fleeing the Central African Republic (CAR). For more information on the situation on CAR see the BBC website and for details on the number of refugees/countries of origin in DRC click here.