Refugee and migrant rights organisation Doras is concerned about the moving of over 80 international protection applicants into tents in Knockalisheen, Co Clare this week.

“This is disappointing, given Minister O’Gorman’s assurances in December that tented accommodation would cease to operate,” said Doras CEO John Lannon. “Less than 4 weeks later they’re back in operation. As a result, it’s very difficult to be optimistic about the government’s response to the need to provide stable and safe accommodation for refugees.”

“We’ve seen the tents. They’re cold and damp. People have to go outside to get to the toilets. They certainly don’t meet people’s basic needs. And it’s quite unreasonable to put people in such conditions, especially people who have health or other vulnerabilities.”

“Knockalisheen doesn’t have the capacity to deal with the additional numbers. There aren’t even enough laundry machines or dryers. This means that every asylum seeker living there are affected by the increased numbers.”

“In particular, the impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of people in the tents is huge. They tents are not suitable accommodation at any time but in winter they can become quite unbearable.”

“When people were moved into the tents at Knockalisheen last September they were told it would only be for a few weeks, and yet they were still there when the temperatures hit minus five degrees in December. We hope we don’t see a repeat of this, and that people are moved to more appropriate accommodation within a matter of days. They also need to be provided with regular information and not left in a state of limbo, not knowing what lies ahead for them. And anybody identified as being particularly vulnerable needs to be moved out immediately. The use of tented accommodation cannot become a new norm or in any way acceptable as a means of accommodating asylum seekers.”

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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