Majority of direct provision centres close to capacity

Gerard Grimes

The majority of the thirty-eight direct provision centres in Ireland are close to capacity, with five oversubscribed with residents.

The five centres in Meath, Laois, Clare and Cork are over-capacity, with the former Mosney holiday camp outside Drogheda housing 619 people, 19 over the contracted capacity of 600.

There is a capacity of 6,209 in the centres, with a total of 5,928 people living the centres, with almost 2,000 of these being children.

However, according to the Department of Justice, some of these spaces are unavailable “due to family configurations”.

The Montague Hotel, in Emo, Portlaoise, the Kinsale Road centre in Cork, the Davis Lane apartments in Mallow and the King Thomond Hotel in Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare, are all also oversubscribed.

Figures obtained by RTÉ News showed that 1,047 (17%) people have spent between two and three years living in direct accommodation, with more than 40% of asylum seekers living in direct provision for over two years.

748 people have spent up to four years living in direct provision accommodation while near 3 per cent has lived in the centres for seven or more years.

The Reception and Integration Agency announced recently that three new direct provision centres were to be opened in Donegal, Wicklow and on the Leitrim/Roscommon border.

The site of one planned centre, in Moville, on the Inishowen peninsula, was recently damaged in an arson attack, which left a man in his 50s injured.

The Caiseal Mara Hotel on Foyle Street in Moville had been set to house approximately 100 people, arriving in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan commented on the attack. “I condemn this attack and those behind it in the strongest possible terms. This was a despicable incident and could have led to very serious tragedy.

“I send my best wishes for a full recovery to the injured person and all those impacted by the fire,” he said.

The attack was also condemned by Minister of State for Equality and Integration, David Stanton, saying the attack was not representative of the majority of people in Donegal.

“I deplore this attack. The hotel is being prepared for accommodation by persons seeking international protection in Ireland,” he said.

“That people would target such a building in this way is deeply shameful… This action is not at all representative of the welcome of the overwhelming majority of people in both Donegal and Ireland as whole.”

Gerard Grimes

Image Credit: Wikipedia