Residents in Cahersiveen direct provision centre to be moved

The former Skellig Star Hotel in Cahersiveen, Co Kerry. File photograph.

UPDATED: 7.24pm

Families at a direct provision centre in Co Kerry will be moved out by the end of the week.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee announced that the residents in Skellig Star Hotel in Cahersiveen will be permenantly relocated once spaces can be found for them in alternative centres.

Speaking in the Seanad, Ms McEntee said: "When a group of people feel that they need to put their own health at risk by refusing food to have their concerns listened to, it's a very serious situation."

"The transfer of direct provision residents to Cahirsiveen arose because of the pandemic, because of the virus. It's been a very difficult situation for everybody but in particular I want to acknowledge how difficult this has been for the residents".

This announcement comes after 32 residents in the Skellig Star Hotel went on hunger strike earlier this week, demanding to be moved after an outbreak of more than 20 Covid-19 cases was confirmed there in April.

The protest began Tuesday morning, as residents said they were “traumatised” following the outbreak and had spent months raising unanswered concerns about their living conditions to Government.

During the height of the pandemic there were issues around people being quarantined, inability to socially distance themselves from other people, and then more recently issues about food and so-called rationing of water.

The Irish Refugee Council called today for the centre to be closed immediately, with chief executive Nick Henderson saying there was only one way to solve the issue: “The resolution would be to close the hotel. Where they’re living is inappropriate...

“During the height of the pandemic there were issues around people being quarantined, inability to socially distance themselves from other people, and then more recently issues about food and so-called rationing of water.”

Yesterday, Cahersiveen locals marched to the Skellig Star Hotel to show solidarity with the residents.

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