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Doras 21st anniversary - Limerick-based migrant support centre Doras celebrates its 21st anniversary this month. Pictured: Hassan Shariif, Legal Advice and Info Officer, Cassandra Lordzenda, Student Volunteer, John Lannon, CEO Doras, Fiona McCaul, General Manager and Ahmed Hassan Mohamed, Community Sponsorship Officer. Doras 21st anniversary - Limerick-based migrant support centre Doras celebrates its 21st anniversary this month. Pictured: Hassan Shariif, Legal Advice and Info Officer, Cassandra Lordzenda, Student Volunteer, John Lannon, CEO Doras, Fiona McCaul, General Manager and Ahmed Hassan Mohamed, Community Sponsorship Officer.

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Doras celebrates 21 years of supporting migrants and opposing Direct Provision

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Doras 21st anniversary – Limerick-based migrant support centre Doras celebrates its 21st anniversary this month. Pictured are Hassan Shariif, Legal Advice and Info Officer, Cassandra Lordzenda, Student Volunteer, John Lannon, CEO Doras, Fiona McCaul, General Manager and Ahmed Hassan Mohamed, Community Sponsorship Officer. Picture: Richard Lynch/ilovelimerick. 

Doras celebrates 21 years of supporting migrants and opposing Direct Provision 

By I Love Limerick Correspondent Rachel Petticrew


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doras 21st anniversary Richard Lynch with Mícheál Ó Súilleabhaín and 4-year-old drummer Sean at the Doras 10th anniversary concert. Photo by Pat Browne/Munster Images.

Richard Lynch with Mícheál Ó Súilleabhaín and 4-year-old drummer Sean at the Doras 10th anniversary concert in 2010. Picture: Pat Browne/Munster Images.

Limerick-based migrant support centre Doras celebrates its 21st anniversary this month. Since 2000, Doras has supported migrants, fighting for their right to live and work in Ireland and has strongly opposed Direct Provision. 

To date, Doras has assisted over 10,000 migrants from 110 different countries. 

The Doras 21st anniversary milestone will be celebrated in a major online event, ’21 Years of Doras’, on December 9, which will reflect on the centre’s past, look to the future and focus on the campaign to end Direct Provision. 

The Doras 21st anniversary celebration will be hosted by Dublin-based Syrian journalist and former Limerick resident, Razan Ibraheem, and will feature several guest speakers, such as Doras co-founder and Life President Ann Scully, and former Doras CEO Karen McHugh. 

Tickets are available free of charge, however donations of any size are welcome. A non-profit organisation, all donations from the event will go to the Doras Christmas Appeal, which provides vouchers for food, clothing, and phone credit to children and adults living in Direct Provision in the Limerick region.

doras 21st anniversary The official opening of Doras Luimní’s new offices in O’Connell Street by Limerick County Cathaoirleach Cllr John Sheahan and Cllr Gerry McLoughlin in 2013.

The official opening of Doras Luimní’s new offices in O’Connell Street by Limerick County Cathaoirleach Cllr John Sheahan and Cllr Gerry McLoughlin in 2013.

Doras CEO, John Lannon, acknowledged the momentous anniversary, saying, “We feel it’s important to honour the vision and dedication of the original founders of the organisation and all those who have worked so hard to get us to where we are today. Doras is very much a community, and we belong to the community. 

“Most importantly, we are here to serve and protect the rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, who are among the most vulnerable in our society today. They are always front and centre in everything we do, and they are also our inspiration.”

History of Doras

doras 21st anniversary Doras staff, volunteers and family visit President Michael D. Higgins in Áras an Uachtaráin, 2019.

Doras staff, volunteers and family visit President Michael D. Higgins in Áras an Uachtaráin, 2019.

Doras, or Doras Luimni, was formed in 2000 in response to the introduction of Direct Provision in Ireland. Direct Provision disperses asylum seekers to accommodation centres around the country, the conditions of which are often sub-standard. 

Operating from Limerick’s Redemptorists Hall, a group of volunteers began providing English lessons and assistance to those living in Direct Provision. This group became known as Doras Luimni.

In these founding years, the centre campaigned for asylum seekers’ right to work, supported those appealing for refugee status, and helped launch the Limerick Network Against Racism. 

In 2006, Doras presented a video project entitled ‘Refugees and Asylum Seekers: the Asylum Process in Ireland’ to then-President of Ireland, Mary McAleese.  

2008 saw the centre campaign for better employment opportunities for refugees and chair the new Limerick Integration Working Group. 

The Invisible Children campaign in 2011 highlighted the poor living conditions children were experiencing in Direct Provision centres. Later that year, Doras began providing specialist support to human trafficking victims, before launching its own legal service in 2012. 

Doras moved to their landmark home in Central Buildings, O’Connell Street in 2013 and have since expanded within.

Protests denouncing Direct Provision took place across Ireland in 2015, with Doras organising demonstrations here in Limerick. 

The Refugee Resettlement Project, which supports refugees from countries of asylum who have settled in Irish communities, was launched in Laois in 2015 before expanding to Wexford and Limerick in 2017.

The following year, several internal protection applicants (refugees who have come to Ireland to escape persecution) were granted a right to work here. This breakthrough led to significant demand for Doras help in accessing employment and education. 

Originally Doras Luimni, in 2019 the centre was renamed Doras, to reflect its now national reach. That same year, Doras published a report bringing to light the shocking conditions of Mount Trenchard Direct Provision centre in Foynes, Limerick, leading to its closure.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Doras offered remote support to migrants and asylum seekers. After 21 years of hard work, the centre has recently welcomed government plans to end Direct Provision, and are committed to working towards that goal.

To get your ticket to the 21 Years of Doras event, go HERE 

To donate to the Doras Christmas Appeal, go HERE 

For more information on Doras, go HERE 

For more Doras stories, go HERE 

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.