Month: April 2012

Short plays about (racist) Ireland, 2

micheal-martinMet Micheal Martin (Fianna Fail leader and former minister) at a do in Cork.
I: we did meet before in  2005, on a Questions and Anwers programme after the 2004 Citizenship Referendum, when you told me you knew a Nigerian woman who had quintuplets, had one in Nigeria and hopped on a plane to have the other four in Ireland (see After Optimism, Lentin and McVeigh, 2006, p. 101)

Martin: Oh, yes, I remember. I actually got a letter from an obstetrician about it…

I: But Micheal, how logical can this be?

Martin: No, really… He wrote to me that something had to be done about all these women coming to have babies in Ireland…

I: But…

Martin: Believe me, I can show you the letter

I raise my eyebrows, but Martin is not embarrased at all…

Short plays about (racist) ireland, 1

dublin-busNo 16 bus, Dublin city centre, 20 April. Bus stationary. Man sits at back of bus and shouts obcsenities.

Bus driver (probably of Indian sub continent origin) speaks on his radio:
I want him to get off the bus…

Man continues to shout. Man gets up and goes to front of bus, shouting:

You want me to get off the bus, you f… black bastard… You f… black bastard.

I: Stop it, stop being racist!!

No passenger comments.

Man gets off the bus.

Elderly woman: Poor man, he was doing nothing, why did he have to get off the bus?

Young woman: Yeah, poor man, what did he do?

Man: He was stinking of drink.

Young woman: Ah.

I: why didn’t you say anything?

On getting off the bus I say to the driver: Sorry about what happened earlier.

Driver: It’s not the first time. It happened many times before. Thanks.

End direct provision system

asylum-seekersI have written about the direct provision system several times. It is an inhumane system, in which hostel managers have the discretion to maltreat asylum seekers at will, and in which asylum seekers live in ‘zones of exception’ where the law pertaining to Irish citizens does not apply. Several reports have detailed the problems faced by asylum seekers in direct provision. However, although asylum seekers are never just victims of the system and although many have used inventive strategies to improve their condition despite not being allowed to work or study, only recently has a group of residents decided to spell the realities of their incarceration out.

Contrary to the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA)’s own House Rules and Procedures Booklet, this group, residing in Eyre Powell Hotel in Co Kildare, has outlined the realities of their existence. Let me look at some of RIA’s regulations and some of the realities. Read more