The hidden lives of migrant women workers

I saw Alan Grossman and Aine O’Brien’s film ‘Promise and unrest’, the story of mother and daughter Noemi and Gracelle from the Philippines, and was reminded, yet again, of the hidden lives of thousands of migrant women care workers in post-Tiger Ireland.

Noemi came to Ireland when her daughter Gracelle was seven months to work as a care worker for an elderly person in Dublin. She is one of many domestic and care workers who have become a feature of Ireland once independent and enterprising Irish women returned to the workplace in their thousands, requiring enterprising and independent migrant women to take their place – the assumption being that this is ‘women’s work’. Continue reading “The hidden lives of migrant women workers”

Women in the asylum twilight zone

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”

Equality aftermath

In the aftermath of the resignation of Niall Crowley, Chief Executive of the Equality Authority, the Minister for Justice made ‘no apologies’ for cutting the Equality Authority’s budget, privileging instead police spending. This is in line with seeing equality work as defending Irish society’s problematic marginal populations, rather than maintaining equality for all, which was what the EA was about.

Denying racism and declaring itself post- and anti-racist, Ireland, like other EU member states, in restricting immigration, limiting it to those migrants who are useful to ‘our way of life’, and castigating Travellers and poor people for not playing their part, particularly now that the economic boom is over.

Continue reading “Equality aftermath”