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‘Ennis will be a supportive environment for Direct Provision residents’

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One elected representative has said ‘Ennis’ history of welcoming refugees’ will be visible when the first of sixty four asylum seekers arrive to the county town later this month.

Clare Lodge on the Mill Rd will operate as a Direct Provision centre from December with sixty four men to take up residence there and will arrive on a phased basis. Bridgestock Care Ltd will be responsible for running the centre which is to employ fifteen people.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) expressed her confidence that a warm reception would be extended by the people of the county town. “Ennis is populated with friendly people, you will always have some exceptions to that but I’m quite confident Ennis will be a supportive environment for these people and in need of help. Not all will qualify for the asylum they are seeking but in the interim this facility will be the third Direct Provision centre in Clare. It will be accommodating men, about sixty four single individual males who are already being provided with emergency accommodation in Ireland.

“These people are indeed likely to have been in the country for the requisite nine months so they will be able to work if they wish to and have qualified for the residency of nine months and will be able to give back to the economy and the community, we have a shortage of skills and it would be a positive contribution”.

She attended a briefing on Tuesday morning along with fellow Ennis Municipal District councillors regarding the plans while on Wednesday several councillors visited Clare Lodge. “It’s very positive for Co Clare to do its bit to help alleviate the issues that arise when you have people coming to the country seeking asylum, we’ve had a substantial increase in asylum seekers and this is the third Direct Provision centre in our county. It has a history of being a centre for refugees”.

A leaflet drop is to be conducted in the neighbouring area of Carmody St to inform locals as to available supports and the plans in place.

Colleran Molloy was confident a warm reception would greet the asylum seekers as has been the case in Miltown Malbay. “These people are already in emergency accommodation like what is happening in Miltown Malbay, that is not a direct provision centre per sé like Lisdoonvarna or Knockalisheen. These people aren’t necessarily going to succeed in their asylum application but as a country Ireland needs to own up to its responsibility for human rights and we have to catch up on other countries who have tried to address this international challenge.

“There is much room for improvement overall in the processing of these applications, that forces people into a limbo situation. I would like to think there would be improvement into the future. Ennis has a history of welcoming refugees, the service providers is going to work very closely with the Council, there will be a leaflet drop in the immediate area which will indicate to residents what exactly is going on and what supports will be provided to these individuals so they can assimilate into our wonderful community be it sports, arts or employment opportunities if they can qualify”.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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