Members of the newly formed Macroom Action Group arranged for 39 adults and children to be taken by bus from Drishane Castle direct provision centre in Millstreet, Co Cork, to Fin’s Garden Centre in Macroom on Saturday where the event was held.
Chair of the group, Dr Angela Flynn, said a number of Irish families attended the integration event that was also supported by a number of local businesses.
“We also organised a barbecue as well as loads of games. Everyone had a really lovely time together. We just wanted to get families out of Drishane Castle for a break and to help them integrate with other families,” said Dr Flynn.
“We are all volunteers who used to be members of the Macroom Together for Yes organisation. There are around 35 of us.”
The group is campaigning on a number of social and equality issues but is particularly interested in improving conditions for people in direct provision.
Dr Flynn said they had to limit the number of residents from the direct provision centre who could attend the social outing on Saturday for health and safety reasons.
“We know that there were lots of families who were disappointed that they were not able to come but we will definitely be holding another one.
“There are almost 300 people living in Drishane Castle and we reckon that in the region of 100 are children.”
Dr Flynn said the people who attended the event appreciated the community effort. “Instead of being angry or frustrated after years of being stuck in the limbo of direct provision they are just so grateful and happy.”
Dr Flynn said that while Drishane Castle is in a lovely setting there are no facilities for the young people living there. “We want to persuade management to allow us to provide sports facilities for them. Young people really need something to do, especially at this time of year when they are not at school.”