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'It's like Long Kesh without the watchtowers': Gerry Adams on Mosney direct provision centre

The Sinn Féín leader has urged the Government to improve conditions at the facility.

Image: /Photocall Ireland

SINN FÉIN PRESIDENT Gerry Adams has described the direct provision centre in Mosney as “Long Kesh without the watchtowers”.

Adams said the conditions at the facility are “an injustice” to the people living there and urged the Government to immediately take action to make the centre more habitable.

Adams was interned in Long Kesh in 1973 before it became the infamous ‘Maze Prison’.

It was a prison which housed thousands of suspected republicans between 1970s and the early 2000s.

It would become the place where IRA hunger striker and MP Bobby Sands would spend his last days.

Speaking today, Adams he said: “The programme for government acknowledges that long durations in direct provision has a negative impact on family life and commits the government to reform.

“Despite this, the government has failed to implement all of the 173 recommendations of the McMahon report which was published almost a year and a half ago.

“I have visited the direct provision centre in Mosney several times. It is like Long Kesh without the watchtowers, the barbed wire and the armed guards. No one should live there for months, never mind years.

The direct provision system has been widely and justifiably condemned. It lacks humanity and compassion.

“They can’t feed themselves, they aren’t allowed to work and there is a limit on how far children can progress through our education system.

“Christmas is only seven weeks away. What sort of Christmas can the hundreds of families locked away in the direct provision centres expect to have?”

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Direct provision centres were set up to to provide for the welfare of asylum seekers and their families as they await decisions on their asylum application.

It ‘provides medical care and accommodation and board with three meals a day provided at set times.

Enda Kenny said he and his colleagues in government are looking at ways to implement more of the findings of the McMahon report.

He said: “With regard to the McMahon report, the vast majority of those who have been here for more than four years have been dealt with, except those in judicial review. New legislation takes effect early in January and we will fast-track applications. Self-catering has been introduced to Mosney and it will be replicated in other places. The Minister of State, deputy Stanton, is looking hard at what can happen here.”

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