Kerry direct provision residents begin hunger strike claiming food and water is being 'rationed'

Kerry direct provision residents begin hunger strike claiming food and water is being 'rationed'
Residents of the Skellig Star Direct Provision Centre in Cahersiveen. Photo Alan Landers.

Residents of a the Kerry direct provision centre which has been at the centre of controversy are going on hunger strike.

Some 32 residents of the Skellig Star Hotel in Cahersiveen, Co Kerry, have decided to take the action because of ongoing problems at the venue.

The problems include allegations that food and water is being rationed, something management denies but which the Department of Justice is now investigating.

Residents say they are being forced into taking the action because they believe that they are not being taken seriously despite five months of raising concerns.

A resident told the Irish Examiner, which has highlighted issues at the centre, that the strike kicks in from 10am.

They said: “We have told management that we will be sending details to the Department of Justice.

“We have all gone through a hard time from the very beginning. We have always said this was not a suitable place to live. 

“We also faced Covid-19 problems and within a short period, we had more than 20 of the residents infected with the virus.” 

They added: “We want the Department of Justice to move us to a place where we can look after ourselves, where we can cook for ourselves.” 

Up to 30 residents of the Skellig Star Cahersiveen have walked out in recent weeks because they - according to other residents - couldn’t tolerate being there anymore.

Residents still there claim their food and milk is being “rationed”.

Locals and residents of the Skellig Star Hotel in Cahersiveen, Co Kerry stand united together. Picture Alan Landers.
Locals and residents of the Skellig Star Hotel in Cahersiveen, Co Kerry stand united together. Picture Alan Landers.

They say staff are only allowed to give two two-litre cartons of milk per day for the remaining 38-40 residents at the accommodation.

Residents also claim that despite a Boil Water Notice being in place in the town due to a recent detection of the parasite cryptosporidium, their bottled water supply has been cut. They claim during the Covid-19 lockdown, each resident received 5 litres of water per day. But this - they claim - reduced to two litres a day per resident until five days ago when - residents claim - the supply of bottled water was stopped.

They claim residents who can’t afford to or are unable to buy their own water have to drink boiled tap water instead.

Management of the centre has declined to comment.

And the Department of Justice has said it will investigate the issues raised by the residents.

“All issues raised will be fully investigated by Department staff,” a spokesperson said.

“We cannot comment on behalf of the service provider.”

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