'Two years of building relationships and making a life': Asylum seekers in Cork given one weeks’ notice of move to Donegal

'Two years of building relationships and making a life': Asylum seekers in Cork given one weeks’ notice of move to Donegal

Over the two year period, Ms Ní Dhubhghaill said these families have integrated into the community, with many getting involved in groups such as Tidy Towns and children settling into schools.

ASYLUM seekers living in Macroom's Riverside Park Hotel for the past two years have been given a weeks’ notice advising them that they are to be moved to the other end of the country, according to a support organisation.

Síle Ní Dhubhghaill from Macroom Friends of Asylum Seekers, an organisation that provides help and support to asylum seekers in the town, said that families living in the centre have been informed that they will be moved to Letterkenny next week.

Síle Ní Dhubhghaill said the families have worked to integrate into the community in the past two years. 
Síle Ní Dhubhghaill said the families have worked to integrate into the community in the past two years. 

“They were only told yesterday [Tuesday] so they get a weeks’ notice to pack up and move to the other end of the country," she said. 

“The centre in Macroom when it opened was always classed as temporary emergency accommodation so originally they were to be here three months and then it became six months and now they’re here two years,” Ms Ní Dhubhghaill told The Echo.

Over the two year period, Ms Ní Dhubhghaill said these families have integrated into the community, with many getting involved in community groups such as Tidy Towns and children settling into schools.

“It’s been two years of building relationships and making a life for themselves and then they get a weeks’ notice that they’re being shipped off to Donegal,” she said.

“They’re trying to be positive and trying to look at the benefits but one of the families was saying that it’s really the children who are the most upset.

“One of the families going to Letterkenny next week is quite close to another family.

“The other family have been told they’re being moved in two weeks but they haven’t been told where.” 

Ms Ní Dhubhghaill said she understands that families will be provided with “own-door” accommodation in Donegal.

“Instead of living in a hotel room, they’ll have an apartment," she said. 

“That is a very positive thing for people, but it’s just that that apartment is six hours away at the opposite end of the country.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth said that it does not comment on the movements of individual applicants or applicant families.

However, it added: “More broadly, IPAS [International Protection Accommodation Service] has committed to ending the use of emergency accommodation for International Protection applicants by the end of this year, and moving residents to own door accommodation. This is in the context of the wider Government commitment to end direct provision by the end of 2024.

“The minister understands that moving to new locations is difficult for any family, particularly those in the international protection process, but by moving from emergency accommodation to own door accommodation, the outcome for those families will be more appropriate accommodation for their needs.”

It said that the minister is committed to improving conditions for IP applicants in direct provision.

“To this end, IPAS has a new dedicated Customer Service unit to engage with IPAS residents, as well as a new resident’s welfare team,” it said.

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