Susan (not her real name) was granted leave to remain in Ireland three weeks before she took her own life. An asylum seeker from Nigeria, Susan was the parent of Irish citizen children. After she had her last child in 2004 she broke her back and suffered severe mental health problems. Several of her children were taken into care and the family was moved from one direct provision hostel to another. Towards the end of her short life, the hostel wanted her to move out; Susan had difficulties finding accommodation and eventually found herself in a B & B where she ended her life on Friday 18 September.
Unlike many other women residents of Ireland’s direct provision hostels, which can only be described as holding centres, Susan never contacted AkiDwA, the Migrant Women’s Network, whose members counsel at least four women asylum seekers each day (however, her case was brought to AkiDwA’s notice). ‘The women we see are in a very bad state’, says AkiDwA’s national director Salome Mbugua. ‘There are many attempted suicides – every week brings new tragedies.’ Continue reading “Women in the asylum twilight zone”