Dialogues in Philosophy
Mental and Neuro Sciences

Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences

The official journal of Crossing Dialogues
Volume 11, Issue 2 (December 2018)

Disavowing asylum and the return of Ireland’s repressed 

Ronit Lentin

Asylum seekers in Ireland have been incarcerated in Direct Provision centres since 1999. This article proposes that their existence is disavowed and hidden from public view, continuing the history of the disavowal by church, state and society in Ireland of people incarcerated in church institutions and psychiatric asylums.

Disavowing and repressing phenomena such as taboo sexuality, mental health, migration, asylum and racialization has the habit of returning to haunt, in the manner of Freud’s return of the repressed.

The article explores the plight of asylum seekers as the most recent link in the chain in Ireland’s practice of disavowing its sexual and other deviants and unwanted populations.
I conclude by arguing that despite their racialization and incarceration, asylum seekers in Ireland are agents of active resistance.


asylum seekers, Ireland, disavowal, return of the repressed, Direct Provision, incarceration
Dial Phil Ment Neuro Sci 2018; 11(2): 60-67
Invited Article
Firstly published online on February 16, 2019