A migrant support group has welcomed the Government’s allocation of 650 additional beds for people in direct provision in a bid to prevent a Covid-19 outbreak.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said both he and minister with responsibility for immigration, David Stanton, are“very concerned at the vulnerability” of people in direct provision and the ability of these centres to adhere with public health guidelines on social distancing and self-isolation.
Minister Flanagan said the new accommodation will mainly be located in hotels in Dublin, Cork and Galway.
This, he said, is in addition to new mainstream centres which opened recently in Caherciveen, Rosslare and Tullamore, allowing older centres to close.
Responding to concerns from the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland that it is “deeply troubled” with the new centres, saying people were still sharing bedrooms, bathrooms and dining centres, often in large numbers, the minister told RTÉ he is now satisfied centres are adhering to the regulations.
Reacting to the Government’s announcement, Fiona Finn, CEO of Nasc, a support body for migrants and refugees, told the Irish Examiner: “Nasc welcomes the announcement that 650 additional beds will be made available for people in direct provision as a good first step. We now need clarity as to the supports that will be available at these new locations, who will be prioritised for transfers, and an assurance that people who are not in family units will not be required to share rooms.
“People in direct provision and emergency centres remain worried and want to know how this new policy will impact them. We look forward to hearing more details on the forthcoming measures to ensure that all 7,000 refugees and international protection applicants in direct provision & emergency accommodation centres are safe.”