Up to 25 people at Killarney direct provision centre contract Covid-19

MASI said residents at the facility are “scared and anxious”.
Up to 25 people at Killarney direct provision centre contract Covid-19

It is not clear how many residents there are in Atlas House Direct Provision Centre in Killarney which has provision for around 70. All those remaining are self-isolating. Picture: asylumarchive.com

There has been an outbreak of Covid-19 at a direct provision centre in Killarney.

MASI the movement of asylum seekers in Ireland, said some 25 people including 24 residents and a staff member in the Killarney centre have contracted the disease. 

It said those positive have been moved out of the centre.

MASI said residents at the facility are “scared and anxious”.

A small number of residents in Killarney had been transferred from Cahersiveen meaning this is their second time being confined because of an outbreak of Covid-19 in a direct provision centre.

The 24 residents have been transferred off-site to isolation facilities. 

It is not clear how many residents there are in Atlas House Killarney which has provision for around 70. All those remaining are self-isolating.

Three of the residents - two adult females and a child - had previously been located in the now closed and controversial Skellig Star hotel in Cahersiveen which was turned into a direct provision during the start of the pandemic in March and which experienced a number of outbreaks of the disease, leading to public protests to close the centre.

MASI said people in direct provision centres are still sharing rooms with strangers. Around three direct provision centres are now affected by outbreaks the spokesman said.

“It’s a time bomb waiting to explode,” he said.

MASI is in contact with the remaining residents in Killarney and talking to people on the ground.

“People are traumatised. People are scared,” he said.

Despite promises, nothing had improved since Cahersiveen, he said.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth said it does not comment on specific COVID-19 cases or outbreaks.

The Department is guided by the advice of public health officials in each Community Health Organisation area as regards how cases of Covid-19 at centres in their region are to be managed, including decisions on when and where off-site isolation is deemed necessary, it said.

“Where off-site isolation is deemed necessary, a resident is moved to the off-site facility and supported while there. 

"The Department will continue to work with the HSE and the Department of Health in the best interests of all residents whilst we remain in the midst of this unprecedented pandemic,” it said in a statement.

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