General News / August 17, 2020

What happened in Berlin D2 happens in Direct Provision centres every day

General News / August 17, 2020

What happened in Berlin D2 happens in Direct Provision centres every day

The antics at Berlin D2 last weekend were bad, but we need to direct at least some of our outrage towards the conditions of Direct Provision and the meat factories that are ripe for breeding COVID.

There’s no doubt the behaviour at Berlin D2 over the weekend was inexcusable and irresponsible. Videos began to disseminate on social media of a brunch event at the Dublin bar that showed a barman wearing a mask on top of the bar, dancing to ‘Mr. Brightside’ whilst pouring drinks into mouths of bouncing customers – many of which were without face coverings.

In the face of rising COVID cases and on a weekend where publicans urged the government to show more backing to the sector through the #SupportNotSympathy campaign exactly five months after most closed their doors, to say it was a bad look is an understatement.

I’m not here to tell you not to be outraged; being angry in response to this situation is to be expected. People’s lives are on the line and social media frenzies amplify any underlying anxiety we may have.

Furthermore, we all want the same thing –  to ensure that cases remain as low as possible so as not to return to a second lockdown. So when you hear that 51 people, who were more than likely drunk and incapable of keeping a safe distance, were in the bar for four hours during a global pandemic, you’ll be angry.

Now. Imagine how you’d feel if you heard there were systems creating those same conditions every day across the entire country?

While there has been an abudance of (mostly righteous) outrage at the bar and its patrons, it is unfortunate that the same energy is rarely directed at the very real dangers posed by meatpacking factories and especially Direct Provision centres. When it is so easy to disparage one-off breaches of distancing protocol, it makes little sense not to save some of that anger for the routine creation of coronavirus breeding grounds within DP centres.

A recent Irish Refugee Council report found that 50 per cent of residents in Direct Provision were unable to social distance effectively and 15 per cent shared a room with three people and one respondent said they were sharing a room with 11 other people.

There were 22 cases of COVID confirmed in a Direct Provision Centre in Kerry this year and subsequently, those living in the former hotel went on hunger strike.

A lot of energy is being focused on the what-aboutisms of Berlin D2 and rightfully so, it was irresponsible and dangerous, but we have to address the very real and obvious threat posed by the dangerous, unclean and unethical conditions of Direct Provision.

If we truly care about stopping the spread of COVID-19 then an approach that works in harmony with Ending Direct Provision needs to be developed.

Click here to read What Is Direct Provision.

Click here to read about how we can End Direct Provision.