Acclaimed actor and writer Donal O’Kelly will perform his poem “Direct Provision” in Inishowen as part of a Witnessing Event on the system.

Mr O’Kelly, an Aosdána member, will be joined by Donnah Vuma, originally from Zimbabwe, who has been living in Direct Provision in Ireland, with her three young children, for several years.

Supported by Failte Inishowen and Afri, the event entitled: ‘A Human Perspective on Direct Provision’ is taking place in Glencrow Hall, Moville on Saturday, March 9, at 3.30pm.

Speaking to Donegal Now, Rose Kelly, one of the event’s co-organisers said the afternoon would further the discussion around Direct Provision and give a better understanding of the “reality” of living in the system.

Ms Kelly said: “With the announcement in the closing months of 2018 that a local hotel had been ear-marked as a Direct Provision Centre, Direct Provision itself became a ‘live’ issue for the town of Moville and surrounding area. “As something new to the community and a concept that most of us would not be familiar with, the discussion that has arisen is both understandable and necessary.

“The Irish Immigrant Support Centre (Nasc) summarises Direct Provision as accommodation in residential institutions, offered to people who arrive in Ireland seeking asylum, by the State. The State ‘directly provides’ essential services, including medical care, accommodation and board, along with a small, weekly allowance.

“The Direct Provision system is overseen by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA), a body of the Department of Justice. However, the majority of the centres around the country are privately owned and operated and the standards of accommodation and living conditions vary widely,” said Ms Kelly.

‘A Human Perspective on Direct Provision’ will begin with a performance by Donal O’Kelly of his piece ‘Direct Provision.’

In 1999, when the Direct Provision system of asylum seeker accommodation was first mooted by the Department of Justice as a temporary measure, Donal O’Kelly wrote the poem to challenge its introduction. ‘Direct Provision’ was performed around Ireland and was revived last year, to mark the eighteenth year of the system.

According to Rose Kelly, Donal O’Kelly will perform his poem in Moville and talk about “facets of the Direct Provision system, including the current limits on the right to work.

Rose Kelly added; “Donal’s performance will be followed by first hand testimony from Donnah Vuma. Donnah, originally from Zimbabwe, has been living in Ireland for several years in the DP system with her three young children. She is a board member of the Human and Earth Rights organization, Afri, as well as a member of (Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASAI).

“There will be opportunity for discussion afterwards. The event is an informal one and everyone is very welcome. “Entrance is by donation with all proceeds going to the local St. Vincent De Paul Society.

“This event is being supported by Failte Inishowen and Afri,” said Ms Kelly.

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