Men “propositioning” children in direct provision centres

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The report found that children are “unhappy” about the length of their stays in the system with a number of children saying they have lived in the system since they were born.

Many also feel they are stigmatised because of where they live, in addition to suffering from racism.

Some of the complaints were about the standard of accommodation, food and the length of time they had to stay in the system.

Children also said they did not feel safe when sharing space with single men, and described their living conditions as “overcrowded” and “dirty”.

“There are loads of men bothering us,” said one child, while another commented: “There is so many men, and . . . they look creepy at you.”

These are among the findings of a Government consultation with 110 children, aged between eight and 17, living in 11 direct provision centres across the State.

Of the 4,786 residents of direct provision in May this year, some 1,230, or 25 per cent, were 17 years or younger. Of these, 1,042 were aged 12 or younger.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said she was “concerned” by the reports.

“The issue was them being accommodated with large groups of single men.

“Men looking at them in a creepy way, men propositioning them. It is not a good idea to put large groups of single men in with families.”

Ms Ward warned that having this could lead to “grooming type scenarios” and called on the Government to do more.

The report was welcomed by Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan who said hearing the voices of children will help direct policy.

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