Management at Direct Provision centre on Limerick outskirts defend Christmas itinerary

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Email:

fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

Minister for Justice and Equality Charles Flanagan ordered a report from management following a Limerick Leader report last month Picture: Michael Cowhey

Minister for Justice and Equality Charles Flanagan ordered a report from management following a Limerick Leader report last month Picture: Michael Cowhey

A DIRECT Provision centre on the Limerick city outskirts has defended itself after asylum seekers believed they were “denied” Christmas Day celebrations.

Residents at Knockalisheen Accommodation Centre claimed that, after raising funds to host a celebration in the communal hall on Christmas Day, they were unable to access the space as it was locked.

It is understood that a staff member had been informed of the event, but that “permission” was not granted to host it.

“Can you imagine having more than 50 children, dressed up in new clothes, waiting to go and celebrate Christmas with everyone, and then just be told that it is not going to happen?” sources told the Leader.

Following a Limerick Leader report on December 30, Minister for Justice and Equality Charles Flanagan ordered management at the centre to issue his office with a report on the matter.

In their report, management said that Christmas was celebrated through a programme of events.

It said that Santa visited the site with presents for all children and teenagers on December 14; all teenagers went bowling and to Supermac’s on December 18; all pre-school children, babies and their parents to Dreamland on December 19; all primary school children went to the cinema on December 20; on December 21, there was a party with a visit from Santa; and on Christmas morning, all residents were given presents.

Management said that on Christmas Day, the night manager was “approached by a resident and informed that a children’s party would take place” at 8pm.

“The party took place and went on until after 2am and gave rise to a number of complaints by residents because of noise.

“Generally management would assist in arranging a social event but could not on this occasion due to the late notice given.”

Subsequently, Doras Luimni and Every Child is Your Child organised a belated Christmas celebration for young people at Knockalisheen, at the RollerJam hall on Ballysimon Road. 

Doras Luimni CEO, Leonie Kerins said the party was “to compensate in some way for the disappointment experienced by the children and their families”.