chapter  3
18 Pages

‘Unkind Cuts’: Health Policy and Practice versus the Health and Emotional Well-Being of Asylum-Seekers and Refugees in Ireland

WithKaty Radford

Healthcare is the keystone of a number of complex progressive social justice issues that

evoke complex emotions. As the demography of Ireland rapidly changes, the practices and

expectations of some asylum-seekers and others seeking refugee status present new

opportunities and challenges for health-service providers. This paper looks at some of the

emotions evoked in healthcare issues. It draws on observations and interviews from

empirical fieldwork carried out for the Health Research Board. The research was

conducted both in the Adelaide and Meath Hospital, incorporating the National

Children’s Hospital, Tallaght and in a number of refugee reception centres in Ireland. At

one level, honouring faith choices within a healthcare setting is a societal acknowl-

edgement*often made to people at their most vulnerable*that the potent and cathartic transformative rituals they value are significant in mediating and managing their

emotions. This paper argues that, at another level, it is a practical and symbolic

communication of a statutory commitment to interculturalism and community cohesion.