TWO asylum seekers residing in a centre in Foynes have been transferred without notice following a dispute at the centre.
Karen McHugh, chief executive of Doras Luimni, a Limerick-based human rights and migrant support organisation, said the residents were transferred to centres in Limerick city and Cork - after the ongoing dispute about their rights had been temporarily settled - which she labelled as “appalling”.
“These were people who were quite vocal about their rights. It seems that if you speak out about the system you’re moved, and this has been happening for some time,” she said.
Gardai were called to the Mount Trenchard direct provision centre outside Foynes this week following a protest by a number of asylum seekers living there.
Three of the residents went on hunger strike in protest over the lengthy delays in the asylum process and the conditions in which they have to live while waiting for their applications to be processed.
The three men - from Congo, Afganistan and Iraq - say they have all been in Ireland at least a decade waiting for their applications to be processed.
Concerns specific to the centre included overcrowded living conditions, unsuitable food, isolation and lack of transport to the city centre.
Matt Cannon, Doras Luimní’s integration and training officer, and Okeremute Okeregha, legal officer with Doras Luimní, who led the mediation of the dispute, said: “This type of incident is not new to the direct provision system. We have mediated resident protests in the past in Limerick.
“It’s symptomatic of larger structural issues which need to be immediately around direct provision.”
The treatment of asylum seekers in direct provision centres has been heavily criticised by Doras Luimní and other NGOs since the system’s introduction in 2000.