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'A tense situation': Mosney Direct Provision residents stage protest over issues at centre

Residents started protesting at 7am this morning.

Capture Mosney residents form a picket line. Source: Facebook.com

RESIDENTS LIVING IN Mosney Direct Provision centre in Co Meath have held a protest today over the treatment of fellow residents by staff and management at the centre.

Shortly after 7am, dozens of residents of the centre near Drogheda gathered at the gates in protest before staff arrived.

In a video posted on social media, residents can be seen protesting near the reception to Mosney with a number of cars blocking the entrance. 

Gardaí were called to the scene and arrived at 8.20am, according to a garda spokesperson. ”No injuries and no arrests were reported,” they said. 

According to one resident who took part in the demonstration, the situation is “still tense” as of 5pm. 

In a statement today, the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) said that residents of the centre were protesting following the recent hospitalisation of a single mother who was moved from the centre to a hotel in Co Cavan with her three children. 

The group said that residents at Mosney are “fearful and reluctant to raise issues they have with management because the minute a person complains, they are moved to another centre” and called on the Department of Justice & Equality to abolish the Direct Provision system and “treat people with dignity”. 

Capture Source: Facebook.com

A former holiday camp, Mosney has been a Direct Provision centre since 2002 and currently accommodates nearly 700 asylum seekers. 

Last year, Mosney Holidays PLC received €8.6 million from the government, bringing the total amount the company has received from the State between 2002 and 2018 to €136 million. 

Since September, pressure has grown on the Reception & Integration Agency to accommodate those seeking international protection in Ireland. There currently over 500 asylum seekers living in hotels and B&Bs around Ireland. 

‘Peaceful protest’

Commenting on today’s protest, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has called for independent inspections of Direct Provision centres and said that conditions in centres are “degrading and must improve”. 

“Residents in Direct Provision Centres enjoy the right to peaceful protest in the same manner as anyone else in Ireland,” an ICCL spokesperson told TheJournal.ie.

“We have consistently voiced concern about the lack of oversight and accountability of privately run Direct Provision Centres. As state funded institutions, the state has a duty to ensure the human rights of residents are respected.”

“We regard Direct Provision Centres as falling within the category of places of detention. Independent and unannounced inspections should be allowed,” the spokesperson added.

“This is why we have called time and time again for the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture which would mandate the government to facilitate such inspections.”

“We call on the Government to ratify this Protocol without delay. ”

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice & Equality told TheJournal.ie that RIA management visited the accommodation centre today and spoke to Mosney management and staff. 

“In keeping with established practice, RIA staff are available to residents in all centres to discuss any issues or concerns they may have,” the spokesperson said. “The Gardaí were present for a short time this morning due to the road being blocked.”

“RIA will continue to monitor the situation in Mosney and to offer appropriate supports to residents.”

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