Locals and residents of Direct Provision centre held protest in Cahersiveen

Locals and residents of a Direct Provision centre held a protest in Cahersiveen, calling for the closure of the centre.
Locals and residents of Direct Provision centre held protest in Cahersiveen

Locals and residents of a Direct Provision centre held a protest in Cahersiveen, calling for the closure of the centre.

Placards reading messages such as 'Department of Justice, admit YOU got this wrong' and 'Cahersiveen says yes to asylum seekers' and 'Cahersiveen says no to inhumane DPCs' were displayed.

This has been the second such protest and followed a largely angry reaction in Cahersiveen to an apology by Ministers Charlie Flanagan and David Stanton of the Department of Justice for problems arising from the opening of a Direct Provision Centre in the town during the Covid-19 crisis.

At least 25 residents at the Skellig Star Hotel turned Direct Provision Centre have now tested positive for Covid-19.

More than 30 of the first people to arrive, some with children, have been removed because of testing positive for Covid-19.  The residents had been in lock down since around a week after the positive tests were confirmed on April 13.

Earlier this week, Minister Flanagan spoke on RTÉ radio’s Today with Sarah McInerney show —  he said that either he or officials from his department are in contact with management of the direct provision centre in the former Skellig Star hotel on a daily basis.

He acknowledged that there had been problems with a boiler for hot water in the former hotel — this issue has still not been dealt with because of the difficulty in having it repaired during a pandemic. But, he said that every room has been furnished with an electrical heater and there are heaters in communal spaces.

The Minister said he could not travel to Cahersiveen to apologise directly to the people in direct provison at the Skellig Star Hotel because of Covid-19 restrictions.

Jack Fitzpatrick, chairman of the Cahersiveen social and business alliance said "no one" was looking for an apology. What everyone wants is for the centre to be closed because it is totally unsuitable, he said.

“No one is looking for an apology – we are looking for a solution. And where is the solution?” Mr Fitzpatrick said this week.

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