Report on direct provision centre in Limerick criticised

Colm Ward

Reporter:

Colm Ward

Karen McHugh of Doras Luimni
A recent inspection carried out on the Mount Trenchard direct provision centre failed to address the concerns of residents, Doras Luimni has claimed.

A recent inspection carried out on the Mount Trenchard direct provision centre failed to address the concerns of residents, Doras Luimni has claimed.

The Limerick-based migrants rights organisation also pointed out that Finance Minister Michael Noonan raised concerns about the centre near Foynes almost 10 years ago.

In August, residents mounted a protest over the conditions in Mount Trenchard and the length of time it was taking for asylum applications to be processed.

Karen McHugh, CEO of Doras Luimní, pointed out that concerns about the unsuitability of Mount Trenchard had been raised since it first opened in 2005, including issues such as its isolated location; sub-standard food and shared bedrooms for up to eight adult males from different cultural backgrounds.

“These issues were most notably raised throughout the protests by residents in August of this year. However, the inspections carried out by RIA [Reception and Integration Agency] fail to assess any of these concerns,” she said.

Ms McHugh claimed that residents had not been asked for their views during the course of the inspection in March.

“We reiterate our call for an independent complaints mechanism to be established and for direct provision centres to be immediately brought under the remit of HIQA so that psycho-social factors are also considered in-line with inspections of residential institutions such as private nursing homes,” she said.

In 2005, Michael Noonan asked the then Minister for Justice Michael McDowell if he was “satisfied” that Mount Trenchard was suitable as an accommodation centre, pointing out that it was an isolated location and that residents found it difficult to settle. He also asked if use of the facility would be discontinued.

The matter was also raised in the Dail last week by Fianna Fail’s Niall Collins who asked the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald for her views on the suitability of the centre. The Minister replied that the operation of Mount Trenchard was being “kept constantly under review”.