State agency allows election literature in direct provision centres


As per the update from Dr Liam Thornton on the Human Rights in Ireland blog, there have been some developments in relation to access to election information for residents in direct provision accommodation, who have the right to vote in local elections.

Voter pamphlet. Image: Pete Forsyth (CC Licence)

Voter pamphlet. Image: Pete Forsyth/Wikimedia (CC Licence)

In a Circular issued yesterday by the Reception & Integration Agency, candidates may now leave election literature in direct provision centres. It’s available on the Human Rights in Ireland blog as a PDF, here. The Irish Refugee Council has published a transcript of it and its predecessor, here. I include the transcript below.

Circular 2/14

Ref: 182/939/2008

To all Centre Managers

Distribution or display of party political leaflets, posters or circulars

I refer to my circular of 23 April, 2014 in the above.

The provisions of that circular still stand, with one variation as follows.

Candidates who call into centres may be allowed to drop off election leaflets to be picked up and read by residents if they so wish. This material may be left in a suitable designated area of the centre such as the reception desk. Candidates may, if they wish, place on the leaflets their contact details or details of political meetings outside the centre to which residents can be invited.

 

_____________
Noel Dowling
Principal
RIA

14 May, 2014

 

That Circular of 14th May 2014 updates a Circular which was issued by the Reception & Integration Agency on 23rd April 2014 (which itself was a more recent iteration of a similar Circular from 2008, released under Freedom of Information legislation). The Circular dated 23rd April is available on the Human Rights in Ireland blog, here. The Irish Refugee Council has published a transcript of it and its successor, here. I include the transcript below.

 

Circular 1/14

Ref: 182/939/2008

To all Centre Managers

Distribution or display of party political leaflets, posters or circulars

I am writing to re-affirm the position of the Reception and Integration Agency, previously expressed in my circular letters of 18 July, 2008 and 26 July, 2013, that an asylum accommodation centre under contract to RIA must remain a politically neutral environment for its residents.

To that end, centre managers must ensure that party political leaflets, posters or circulars are not displayed or circulated in their centres and that politically orientated meetings are not held there either.

Residents are entitled to their own political views and are, of course, free to communicate with political representatives. But in the same way that Public Service offices operate in a politically neutral environment, so also must accommodation centres be free from any party political associations.

Plainly, correspondence of any kind addressed to individual residents must be delivered to them. However, political leaflets or unaddressed envelopes cannot be distributed in the centre and nor can political posters be displayed. If such documentation is received through the post or hand delivered to the reception area, it should be returned to the sender accompanied by a copy of this circular.

 

_____________
Noel Dowling
Principal
RIA

23 April, 2014

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