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Direct Provision: Nearly 100 people relocated from Monaghan hotel

There are concerns about the level of service provision for those living in RIA-sourced emergency accommodation.

DP Emergency Accommodation. Treacy's Hotel in Carrickmacross GoogleMaps GoogleMaps

NEARLY ONE HUNDRED asylum seekers have been relocated from a hotel in Co Monaghan to make rooms available ahead of Ireland’s tourist season. 

As pressure on the asylum system continues, the use of emergency accommodation has been necessary since last year, the Department of Justice and Equality has said. 

Campaigners, however, have criticised the instability of locating people in hotels and B&Bs in remote areas. 

A contract issued by the department last September to Treacy’s Hotel in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan to provide beds on an emergency basis ends later this month. Residents have now been moved to Co Meath to another emergency set-up as a result. 

People living in the hotel started leaving their rooms last Thursday. The majority have now been relocated to a hotel in Co Meath. Others have been dispersed to B&Bs in Co Monaghan, the contracts for which end later this month. 

It is understood that several people have also been relocated to a hotel in Co Louth which has recently started accommodating asylum seekers. 

With Ireland’s 38 Direct Provision centres currently at capacity, the department’s Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) will continue to source these emergency beds in commercial businesses around Ireland until more permanent centres are opened. 

Direct Provision centres are generally re-purposed or purpose-built facilities to accommodate asylum seekers in Ireland. Some centres are state-run but most are tendered out to various private contractors. 

Despite saying in early January that asylum seekers are placed in emergency accommodation “for a short period before they are moved into the mainstream accommodation system”, a number of people have been residing in Cavan-Monaghan emergency accommodation for six months, has learned. 

As of late December, six hotels and B&Bs were contracted to the Department to provide emergency accommodation to asylum seekers. These contracts end in late March. 

In January, a further three hotels in Co Dublin were contracted to provide emergency beds as well as one hotel in Co Louth and a hotel in Co Waterford.

‘Severe pressure’

Lucky Khambule of the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) has said that his organisation “is concerned and opposed to people’s lives being made unstable by moving them around for the convenience of the hotel’s needs.”

“To us it shows that our people do not matter at all as long as those tasked to protect them actually put them in risk by moving them around”.

Due to the rise in the number of applicants for international protection in Ireland, however, “severe pressure” is being placed on RIA, according to a spokesperson.

To comply with the EU Reception Conditions directive, use of emergency accommodation has been necessary since September, they said.

“It is not possible to predict how many people may arrive in any given year seeking international protection,” a department spokesperson has said. 

In late January, the department tendered for more emergency accommodation to provide beds and food for those seeking international protection in Ireland. 

The call-out notice for the contract states that RIA is “not seeking exclusive use of any premises” and that any rooms not being used in the hotel or guesthouse by the agency can continue to be made commercially available.

‘A stable home’

Concerns have been raised about the level of service provision for those living in RIA-sourced emergency accommodation, however. 

Immigrant support centre Nasc has called on RIA to ensure adequate service provision for residents following a number of reports in recent months. 

A department spokesperson has said that, although RIA aims to place people in Direct Provision centres, it has not been possible to do so following two recent fires at hotels in Moville, Co Donegal and Roosky on the Roscommon-Leitrim border.

The department has confirmed that it still aims to open both hotels as Direct Provision centres.

It is unclear for how long exactly those who have been relocated from Carrickmacross to emergency accommodation in Co Meath will be there for. 

Khambule of MASI has said that “everyone needs a stable home and to live freely wherever they are. That is no different for a person living in Direct Provision”. 

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