USI tackle Direct Provision with a ‘think in’

Eoin Harte

Image Credit: Union of Students Ireland

The conversation around direct provision centres is now set to ‘develop’ after a student ‘think-in’ organised by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).

Aisling Cusack, the USI Vice President for Equality and Citizenship, spoke to The College View about the ‘think-in.’

“Basically it was to get union officers, student activists and societies all in a room to acknowledge what work has been done on direct provision that’s happening already around the country in different counties,” Cusack said.

Colm O’Gorman, the Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland attended the ‘think-in’ to talk about sponsoring families in direct provision.

“Colm O’Gorman, his contribution wasn’t necessarily about direct provision but it was about more community sponsorship and what’s happening in Canada and how families and sponsor groups can sponsor families and help them sustainably integrate into communities
by sponsoring them,” Cusack explained.

A woman who has spent the last nine years living in direct provision in Ireland was present at the event to talk about her struggles during her time here.

“She shared her experiences of living in direct provision herself and as a mother as well, a single mother and what her life has been like in the last nine years and what students can do in the student movement to further challenge the system of direct provision,” Cusack said.

One of the main reasons for the event was to bring students from different colleges and universities around the country and try to get them on the same page to tackle issues that surround the direct provision system.

“There’s so much happening but there’s not much cohesion within those groups and there’s definitely elements that where certain groups may be able to improve and see what’s been done elsewhere and bring that onto their own campuses.”

No solid plan on what students can do to oppose the direct provision system came out of the event as plans are only formulated at a National Council. Over fifty students attended the event, a number which Cusack was happy with.

“I was quite pleased with that number, I don’t think any more would’ve fit into the room.”

“I think there’s definitely potential to have more days like that in the future,” Cusack said.

Eoin Harte

Image Credit: Union of Students Ireland