Mullen criticises failings around burial of deceased asylum seeker, Sylva Takula

“Accidental cruelties” of “system without a heart” need to be investigated and an official protocol put in place.


Independent Senator Rónán Mullen today criticised the circumstances around the burial of deceased asylum seeker, Sylva Takula, who died in 2018 and was buried by the State without ceremony last month, with no notice to friends and associates.

Senator Mullen said there should be an investigation to establish how such insensitive treatment occurred despite repeated requests from friends to be kept informed.

He said:
“This is yet another example of the many ‘accidental cruelties’ of the Direct Provision system.  Nobody means to do harm and everybody does their job, sort of, but things seem to happen to persons in direct provision that don’t happen to other people because it’s a system without a heart.”

“In ordinary life, nobody is buried without a ceremony and some kind of notice to the public beforehand, because paying respect to our dead and expressing sympathy to their bereaved is one of the ordinary decencies and necessities of human existence. I understand that in this case the Gardaí tried to contact next of kin but regardless of the outcome of that why wasn’t there a notice on about funeral arrangements?”

“Can we have an investigation into the precise succession of decisions and events here and an official protocol to ensure that such a thing can never happen again?”

Two weeks ago, Senator Mullen brought forward a motion in Seanad Éireann calling for earlier diagnosis of the mental health needs of asylum seekers. The motion, which was not opposed by the Government, said there should be a designated consultant psychiatrist in each area with a direct provision centre. Senator Mullen said that because of the traumatic circumstances that brought some asylum seekers to Ireland, they often had more acute mental health needs and a faster, multi-disciplined response to their needs was called for.


For more information contact Rónán Mullen at 087 2446911.