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Direct Provision food protest ends with hope for improved conditions

The residents had began refusing supplies from the centre last week.

A protester outside the Department of Justice last year opposing the direct provision system
A protester outside the Department of Justice last year opposing the direct provision system
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall

RESIDENTS AT THE Athlone Direct Provision Accommodation Centre have ended their protest against conditions in hopes that a resolution may be reached.

While not on hunger strike, those living in the centre had been refusing the supplies given to them, in protest against the living conditions.

The breakthrough comes after a meeting between residents and Department of Justice body, the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA).

It has been agreed that any further protests will be postponed for three weeks while the RIA formulate a proposal about improvements at the centre.

One of the problems for residents is the food available to them.

There is also an issue over the manner in which staff have addressed those living in the centre.

The centre houses around 230 people, of which about 130 are children.

While it is hoped improvements will be made to conditions for residents the problems faced are symptomatic of the Direct Provision system’s bigger issues.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council Sue Conlan, said:

I expect there to be some positive improvements but it remains to be seen if there are more fundamental issues will be dealt with… the bigger issues have to be addressed in the overall run of things.

The Direct Provision system has come under much criticism in recent times over conditions for refugees. Last month a demonstration was held over the Mount Trenchard centre in Limerick.

The living conditions in the centre were described as “overcrowded and inhumane” by Karen McHugh, CEO of Limerick based NGO, Doras Luimní.

Comment from the RIA is pending.

Read: Calls for Ireland to legislate against online hate crime

Also: Demonstration to close ‘inhumane’ direct provision centre in Limerick taking place today

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