Social Affairs, Catherine Connolly, Noel Grealish, Sean Kyne

Social Affairs, Catherine Connolly

Minister booed as Oughterard rejects direct provision centre

Minister booed as Oughterard rejects direct provision centre

12.9.2019

Minister booed as Oughterard rejects direct provision centre

Up to 700 people attend public meeting where there was near unanimous opposition

Reliance on volunteers to aid asylum seekers must end – charity One of the main organisers of the meeting, Patrick Curran, said time and again in the course of the night that if the politicians would not stop the centre, the people would. Businessman Rory Clancy said the town had started to rejuvenate in the past few years and that they needed support from the Government to continue that work. He said the town was a beautiful, welcoming one that would be more than happy to take its quota of refugees in the form of a few families properly accommodated and integrated, but not housed in a direct provision centre. Ms Connolly agreed that direct provision was wrong because it was inhumane but disagreed with some of the reasons given by people at the meeting. She agreed it would be much better to integrate refugees among local communities but she said the Department of Justice had not learned from its previous mistakes. “They are known for their secrecy and how they have treated people badly in the past with no accountability,” she said. “Their lack of communication with people causes hatred and division towards people who have already fled persecution in their own country,” she said. A ballot held before, during and after the meeting showed an overwhelming majority were against the potential centre and a show of hands earlier in the meeting was unanimously against it too. The meeting decided to form an action group to demand clarity, openness and transparency from the department as well as strongly opposing any plan to provide such a facility in Oughterard. There are almost 7,000 people accommodated in 39 centres in 17 counties with a handful of them described as oversubscribed. The State owns seven of them and in 2017 paid €55million to private contractors to operate the rest of them. Read more: The Irish Times

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12 September 2019, Thursday News

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