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Sunday 4 June 2023 Dublin: 8°C
Davd Ra The entrance to the Knockalisheen centre on Friday.
# tented accommodation
Moving asylum seekers from tents during cold snap should be 'watershed' moment
A local TD said it was ‘inhumane to have people in tents’ during wintertime.

LAST UPDATE | Dec 12th 2022, 10:59 AM

CLARE IMMIGRANT SUPPORT Centre has welcomed a decision to move asylum seekers out of tented accommodation amid the current cold snap.

However, the group said “the next step” must be to move these people into “longer term accommodation where they can start building their lives”.

As of Friday, around 100 asylum seekers were being housed in tents at a centre in Knockalisheen, on the border between Clare and Limerick and situated close to Limerick City.

Local Fianna Fáil TD Cathal Crowe said it was “inhumane” to allow people to live in the tents.

Crowe, who lives near the site, added: “I have grave concerns, these tents are not appropriate accommodation, certainly not in winter months, I would consider that during wintertime, it is inhumane to have people in tents.”

At a press briefing yesterday following the conclusion of a meeting of the National Emergency Coordination Group, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien was asked about the situation regarding asylum seekers in tented accommodation.

In response, Minister O’Brien said: “In relation to the situation with regard to those seeking international protection, including the instance in Clare, those families and those individuals have been moved out and will not be staying in the temporary sheltered accommodation this evening.

“We discussed that at the meeting and alternative accommodation is being sought. They will not be sleeping in the sheltered accommodation this evening or for the rest of the week.”

Speaking today on Morning Ireland, Orla Ni Eili, coordinator of Clare Immigrant Support Centre, confirmed that everyone has been moved from the tented accommodation.

In a statement to The Journal, the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) also confirmed that everyone previously in tented accommodation at the Knockalisheen Centre “have now been transferred to suitable IPAS accommodation”.

However, while Ni Eili said “the lads are indoors and safe”, she added: “We need to make sure that the next step for some of them is into the longer term accommodation where they can start building their lives.”

She also expressed hope that the tented accommodation would not be used again.

“I think we’ve seen that this doesn’t work,” said Ni Eili.

“Hopefully this is a watershed. Even up until it getting so cold, the men were sharing the tents having all their clothes in plastic bags under the beds.

“The heating, even when it wasn’t this bitter, was intermittent. It felt demoralising for them.”

Ni Eili also called for a dedicated refugee agency that could “take care of all of these elements of asylum seeker life”.

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