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Dublin: 14 °C Wednesday 23 July, 2014

Asylum seekers protest over accommodation’s ‘expired food and rat infestation’

The Irish Refugee Council has said that the Minister for Justice cannot deny the need for an investigation into the Direct Provision system.

File: A protest held earlier this year by the Irish Refugee Council
File: A protest held earlier this year by the Irish Refugee Council
Image: Irish Refugee Council

ASYLUM SEEKERS HELD a protest at a direct provision centre in Co Cork yesterday over accommodation conditions, food, and cockroach and rat infestations.

According to the Irish Refugee Council, the residents of the centre in Drishane, Millstret – many of whom are families – said they had experienced a range of issues, including:

restrictions on children playing outside, no play room inside, service of expired food, overcrowding including parents sharing beds with children and cockroach and rat infestation.

They said that attempts by a representative group of residents to discuss concerns with management yesterday were “rebuffed”.

Investigation

Sue Conlan, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, said that in light of the events, the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter “cannot continue to deny the need for an investigation of the system of Direct Provision system”.

She described it as “a system that is seriously harming the well-being of children and their families”.

At the very least, a system of independent inspections should be introduced in the short term, said Conlan.

The Minister also needs to be truthful and acknowledge that the proposed legislative reform will not address the needs of those already in the system.

She said that yesterday’s response from the management at Millstreet led to the residents feeling “powerless”, which in turn led to the protest.

A spokesperson from the Department of Justice told TheJournal.ie that the issues raised by some of the residents in Millstreet asylum accommodation centre:

concerned food quality, transport, management style, social welfare provision and the requirement for adult supervision of children at all times.

They said that following the morning protest, a delegation of the residents met with the proprietor for 90 minutes in the afternoon. “A further meeting took place this morning and a plan is being put in place to deal with the concerns raised,” said the spokesperson today.

They said that the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA), which is run by the department, is being kept fully aware of the matter and it is the aim of RIA, centre management and the residents “to fully resolve any issues of concern in as short a time as possible”.

Read: Irish attitudes to immigrants have become ‘more negative’ over last 7 years>

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