A transgender woman who died while in Direct Provision in Galway last year was buried in secret by the state without informing any of her close friends or the community.
Sylva Tukula died while at the Great Western Direct Provision Centre on August 2 of last year.
Amach! LGBT+ charity released a statement today saying that despite assurances that Sylva would be given a culturally appropriate burial with her Galway friends present, she was buried last month without ceremony and with no-one close to her in attendance.
The charity said that friends and colleagues of Sylva were assured by national and local state representatives that they would be notified once funeral arrangements were made.
“Sadly, we were recently informed that our dear friend was buried by the State at the beginning of May. Members of our community and, especially those close to Sylva, were devastated to hear of her burial with no-one close to her present.”
“The fact that Sylva’s burial occurred in the absence of a ceremony, and without attendance, is deeply offensive to everyone close to Sylva, particularly members of the LGBT+ community who lived in the Great Western, who knew her from the Eglinton Direct Provision centres in Galway City and those that met her throughout her life in Galway.”
“This abhorrent news has left many in shock, with those in the direct provision sites feeling that they will be buried alone thousands of miles away from people they grew up with by the Irish State.”
The LGBT+ charity has requested that a full investigation be carried out into how this happened and why no-one was informed even though “We continually checked with Government representatives for updates, while receiving no new information regarding any arrangements.”
“Our dear friend Sylva was failed by the system in which she was entrapped, in many ways; yet at all times she bore these failings with grace, with dignity and with a warm smile.”
Amach! has said that they will be working with people who knew Sylva Tukula on commemorating her burial and life.