ASYLUM seekers at the country’s largest Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) centre are planning a mass sit-down protest against the transfer of over 150 residents to hostels in Dublin city centre.
The Department of Justice is planning to reduce the number of residents at the Mosney centre in Co Meath from its current 800 to 650 as part of wider cost-saving plans with the first of the transfers to take place tomorrow.
Extra gardaí and private security contractors are believed to be on stand-by in order to assist in the transfer over a number of days.
Rosanna Flynn of the support group, Resident Against Racism, said: “These people were only notified last week that they had to pack up their lives and move out of a place many have called home for several years. Most have friends in the local area around Mosney and have a strong attachment to the community that has built up in the Mosney centre.”
She added: “Asylum seekers are supposed to integrate into the local community, then, when they do it, they are treated like this. It is clearly inhumane.”
The Free Legal Advice Centres have also raised concerns over the human rights implication of the move.
Approximately 150 single asylum seekers are being asked to move, but concerns are widespread among the 800 residents of the Mosney centre that this is only stage one of plan to close the centre completely.
Concerns have also been raised about the standard of accommodation to which the asylum seekers will be moved. Most are to be re-housed at a centre in Dublin’s Hatch Street. The city centre location is a five-storey Victorian building which has previously been criticised as unsuitable for housing infirm or pregnant asylum seekers.
Once a Butlins holiday centre, Mosney has since 2001 accommodated asylum seekers as part of the Government’s direct provision system. This system was established in early 2000 as an emergency response to the growing number of people applying for asylum.
Almost 6,000 asylum seekers still live in direct provision hostels, half of them for more than three years and many in overcrowded conditions.
Justice officials state that the movement of asylum seekers to fill vacancies at other privately run hostels will reduce the €90 million annual cost of the direct provision system.
A department spokes-woman said the transfers will be overseen by the RIA and the Mosney centre management and there were currently no plans to modify the process.
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