A disturbing feature of the prison rebellion in Cloverhill yesterday was that, if the prison is to be believed, a large group of prisoners took a fellow prisoner as a hostage seemingly because he was a migrant.
Up to 60 prisoners were initially involved in a protest in the exercise yard. 45 agreed to return to their cells while according to media reports "armed themselves with homemade weapons, including razor wire and goalposts" and took Walli Ullah, an asylum seeker who is being held in Cloverhill as a hostage and subjected him to a violent beating.
It turns out that when the Irish public are asked about the treatment of undocumented migrants here in Ireland in the context of being asked about undocumented Irish migrants in the USA the racist hostility that is too often expressed almost evaporates.
This was the finding of a RedC poll commissioned by the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland. The MRCI estimates there are between 20,000 and 26,000 undocumented people in Ireland, including thousands of children.
Minister Frances Fitzgerald claimed to be shocked at reports that some women in direct provision centres felt compelled into sex work by the poverty they are kept in. How can that be, its Minister Frances Fitzgerald who actually operates this direct provision system that creates such circumstances.
As the Minister she does not allow asylum seekers to work, leaving them to exist on €19.10 per week, often for periods measured in years. Who can imagine living month after month with such a minuscule amount of spending money? And while she now wants to suggest she has concern for such women the reality is that she is the one who signs deportation orders, orders which will very often send the same women to very much more difficult circumstances.