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Restart project aims to integrate and empower refugees and asylum seekers in Ireland



Restart pictured at the land at Knockalisheen direct provision centre, where their ReStart Gardening initiative takes place

Restart project aims to integrate and empower refugees and asylum seekers in Ireland

ReStart is a social enterprise set up by students of the University of Limerick in Enactus UL. The aim of the project is to integrate refugees and asylum seekers into Irish society through various initiatives. Currently, they are working on numerous initiatives including, Restart Cooking and Gardening, Education, Crafts, and Sport.

ReStart Gardening enables refugees and asylum seekers to enhance their agricultural skills so that one day they may even be able to contribute to the Irish agricultural workforce. Restart has recently partnered with Hanratty’s direct provision centre in Limerick and Knockalisheen direct provision centre in Clare. They have been given the use of a plot of land at Knockalisheen, where they run weekly gaining sessions. They has been in contact with the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board, who have said they will be able to provide gardening/horticulture classes to the participants.


The food stall in at the UL Christmas market last year were they sold a variety of traditional Asian and African traditional dishes.

RTE 2fm donated gardening equipment from Garden World Limerick. Restart is currently in the process of preparing the land to grow crops and is planning to grow fruits and explore the option of international seeds from the home countries of the participants. They are currently prohibited from growing vegetables as refugees and asylum seekers are not permitted to grow crops that could be cooked.

Another initiative run by the project called Restart Cooking. The project holds a weekly stall at the University of Limerick, selling traditional food from countries across the world. They collaborate with refugees and asylum seekers living in direct provision to help them cook the food. The stall is also operated by refugees and asylum seekers who the project have worked with. This teaches them the business skills needed to run a market stall. Restarts long-term vision is to connect ReStart Cooking and Gardening by growing some of the ingredients needed for the cooking process at our land, empowering and integrating refugees and asylum seekers in the process.

Any revenue earned by the project will be reinvested in the project to help them work towards empowering and integrating more refugees and asylum seekers. It will also be used to cover the costs of incentives for project participants. For example, potential payment of FETAC courses of their choosing or mobile phone credit.

For more about Enactus, go HERE

For more stories on University of Limerick 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 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.