Fr Paddy Byrne: Time to think!
Fr Paddy ByrneTHIS pandemic is far from over, while, hopefully, it remains contained on our island, here in Laois we face a second week of restrictions, which, I believe, are necessary in our collective responsibilty to ensure safe public health and our shared desire that children will return to school in September.
The recent spike of Covid-19 highlights that the vulnerable remain very susceptible and exposed to this virus. Direct provision residents, meat factory workers and members of the travelling community accounted for many of the confirmed cases in recent weeks. Remember, cases are real people, not just numbers. I pray that all will make a full recovery and return to good health.
Half of people living in direct provision have been unable to social distance from other residents during the pandemic, while more than 40 per cent continue to share a room with a non-family member, according to new research seen by The Irish Times.
The Irish Refugee Council’s (IRC) Powerless report, which examines the experiences of direct provision residents during the pandemic, says asylum seekers are suffering ‘fear and trepidation’ because of their ‘inability to control’ their health and safety during the pandemic.
The call to end direct provision has become ‘more compelling than ever’ in the context of the pandemic, the council says. The new government has committed to ending the system.
You can read Fr Paddy’s article in full in tomorrow’s issue of the Laois Nationalist.