Asylum seekers ‘have integrated well’ in Macroom

Asylum seekers ‘have integrated well’ in Macroom

Asylum seekers arrived in Macroom in mid-August, with the Department of Justice confirming it was leasing the hotel to provide emergency accommodation for asylum seekers.

ASYLUM seekers living in emergency accommodation in the Riverside Park Hotel in Macroom have integrated well, according to local campaigners and councillors.

Síle Ní Dhubhghaill from Macroom Friends of Asylum Seekers said that the new arrivals have joined TidyTowns and the local choir and the children have joined the Macroom soccer team.

“We also have a big group cooking meals for Macroom Food Festival’s International Flavours Event,” she added.

“Macroom has really been great. It would give you faith in humanity. People have donated much-needed items, like buggies.

“The nasty rhetoric seen online [when the asylum seekers arrived] doesn’t represent the people of Macroom,” she added.

Recently, residents in the hotel campaigned to get a school bus for their children. Previously, small children were walking over half an hour to school, twice per day.

This campaign was successful and the bus service started last Monday.

However, the asylum seekers are still facing issues. They have no access to GPs because there are no doctors taking on new patients in the Macroom area.

Residents of the Riverside Park Hotel have been informed they should use SouthDoc, which is an emergency-only, out-of-hours GP service.

The adults also do not have a shuttle bus to Macroom town or Cork city.

“The lack of GPs was an issue before people arrived. I do feel like more research should be done before deciding where to place people,” said Ms Ní Dhubhghaill.

“There have been cases where people have attended SouthDoc, like sick children. We also have pregnant women. If they needed to go to A&E they’d be stuck as they have no transport.”

“As for a shuttle bus, it is hard for people to get to Cork city. They may need to go to the city to attend religious services, as there is no mosque in Macroom, or to meet with their solicitor.“The bus from Cork to Macroom is €19, adult return. If you are only on €38 per week, that is a lot of money.”

Local Fine Gael councillor Eileen Lynch said the new arrivals were settling in well.

“An initial challenge we faced was the lack of consultation with local people or councillors,” she said. “There was a lot of false information out there because we weren’t being provided with real information.”

However, despite these challenges, the new arrivals have settled in well, she said.

“The residents moved in a few weeks ago, and already are integrating,” she said. “It hasn’t worked out too badly, now the dust has settled.”

The residents arrived in mid-August, with the Department of Justice confirming it was leasing the hotel to provide emergency accommodation for asylum seekers.

The department also said the hotel is not being turned into a permanent direct provision centre. Asylum seekers are being increasingly housed in temporary accommodation because all of the country’s direct provision centres are full.

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