Cork Direct Provision centre bans clothes donations

Cork Direct Provision centre bans clothes donations
Roos Demol says she has been asked to stop donating clothes to people in the Kinsale Road Direct Provision centre. 

MANAGEMENT at the Kinsale Road direct provision centre has asked an activist to stop donating clothes to the centre's residents.

Roos Demol, who has worked with asylum seekers at the centre for years, says she was told to stop bringing the donated clothes.

"I have been bringing in a few bags of donated clothes once a month, for over four years now.

"I have a deal with a woman in Bandon who runs a charity shop. She had so many leftover clothes which she couldn't sell. She puts aside some clothes every month and I take them to the centre.

"There are clothes for men, women and children in the bags. Usually, I bring about four or five bags and all of the clothes go quite quickly."

However, Roos says she was approached by one of the managers at the centre, who told her she couldn't bring the clothes anymore.

"She told me to donate them to a charity shop in the city called 'Twice as Nice', whose proceeds go to people living in direct provision."

"That doesn't make any sense to me. People would have to spend their weekly allowance on getting into town, and then buy the clothes, when I am giving them out for free.

"I've been told that there are leftover clothes, and it's an issue to get rid of them. However, most times all the clothes are taken. A resident also told me that there's a clothes bank for charity behind the centre, so the clothes go there if they're not taken."

She adds it's not just about the clothes. 

"It's about socialising too. It's a bit like a market, everyone can talk and come together."

Roos helped set up Citadel, a music group made up of refugees and asylum seekers. 

"Without me donating the clothes and making friends, we wouldn't have Citadel."

In a statement, the Department of Justice said: "The Department has been advised that donated clothes are kept in a room for residents to take what they wish and the remaining clothing is put into a clothing bank for recycling.

"Recently, there has not been a large uptake by residents of the donated clothes and a significant amount of the donated clothes were then being put into clothes banks for recycling.

"The Department understands that the centre manager, therefore, suggested to the volunteer that there may be more uptake if the clothes were sent to a local charity shop.

"The Department encourages and is grateful to the residents of Cork for their positive, generous engagement with the Kinsale Road Centre. Our understanding is that the proposal is not about stopping donations but rather ensuring that the clothes are going where they are most needed."

Kinsale Road is a state-owned accommodation centre. The contract for providing services at Kinsale Road was awarded to Aramark in 2016, following a competitive tender process.

More in this section

Sponsored Content