Skellig Star residents 'would do better in a refugee camp in Lebanon,' TD tells Dáil

Skellig Star residents 'would do better in a refugee camp in Lebanon,' TD tells Dáil

Some 32 residents at the hotel have been on hunger strike since Monday. File Photo of a protest on Tuesday: Alan Landers.

Migrants would be better off in a refugee camp in Lebanon than remain in the Skellig Star Hotel in Cahirsiveen, the Dáil has heard.

During questions on promised legislation, Solidarity TD Brid Smith raised the ongoing hunger strike by residents in what she called the “rotten accommodation”.

Addressing Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, she said: “Tánaiste, the programme for government committed to ending the direct provision system and replacing it with a new international protection accommodation system that is based on a not-for-profit approach.” 

“Currently in Cahirsiveen, in the Skellig Star, 32 people are facing their third day without food. They have gone on hunger strike, which is a pretty drastic decision to take in order to force the issue of the need to move them out of that rotten accommodation,” she said under privilege.

She named the hotel proprietor who she said has rationed their water to one litre per day.

“I think they would do better in a refugee camp in Lebanon. There is a record, a disgraceful record of this centre being, according to a consultant and public health medicine, completely inappropriate for accommodation during a pandemic,” she said.

“These residents need to be moved out. Their demand is simple. Move them to own door accommodation which is available in Tullamore, or in Mosney. The Department of Justice is once again just letting these people down.”

In response, Mr Varadkar said officials from the Department of Justice were on site yesterday in a bid to end the protest.

“I understand that officials from the department, were in Cahirsiveen yesterday, trying to resolve this issue. 

"And we do of course want to resolve the matter. But before you can move somebody to alternative appropriate accommodation, you have to find the alternative appropriate accommodation. 

"And that is a difficulty, and I think everyone appreciates that,” he said.

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