Covid-19 and Vulnerable Migrant Populations

29 Apr 2020
UNIC Lecture Series 'Migration and Corona'

As part of our involvement in UCC's membership of the UNIC universities initiative, and our membership of IMISCOE, ISS21 is participating in the recently launched UNIC online lecture series, 'Migration and Corona'

Covid-19 and Vulnerable Migrant Populations: Asylum Seekers in Direct Provision

On 6 May, Dr Piaras MacEinri (Department of Geography and ISS21) will present a paper on the risks which the Covid-19 pandemic poses for asylum seekers living in Direct Provision. Asylum seekers in Ireland are housed in high-density communal accommodation contracted by the State from private sector providers under a system known as Direct Provision. Residents of DP centres may be there for a period of years in a system in which few have the right to work and social integration within the host society is extremely limited. The Covid-19 crisis poses severe problems for those residents. The observation of public health directives on social distancing is impossible in most cases, with residents having extremely restrictive personal space. Apart from a high risk of Covid-19 outbreaks, particular problems arise for those doing essential frontline work or who may need to self-isolate for various reasons.

The lecture will also consider the response of the Cork City of Sanctuary to the current crisis. Cork City of Sanctuary is a hybrid model based on a UK precedent which enables statutory and voluntary agencies and migrant communities to build trust, improve consultative processes, provide enhanced services and monitor delivery and compliance. It also seeks to explore whether lessons can be learned from Covid-19 responses for the better future management of the asylum system in general.

For more on this story contact:

Dr Piaras MacEinri (

For further details on the UNIC seminar series click on the following link: UNIC lecture series

Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Top Floor, Carrigbawn/Safari Building, Donovan Road, Cork, T12 YE30