by Kathy Masterson
MIGRANT rights organisation Doras Luimní has revealed that Minister for Finance Michael Noonan raised concerns about the unsuitability of Mount Trenchard in Foynes as an accommodation centre for asylum seekers in 2005.
As a resident of Foynes, Deputy Noonan asked the then Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell if he was “satisfied” that the direct provision centre was suitable accommodation, given its isolated location, among other issues.
“Almost ten years later, the facility continues to accommodate asylum seekers despite increasing pressure on the Government to discontinue its use,” said Karen McHugh, Doras Luimní CEO.
Doras Luimní has also criticised the most recent inspection report for Mount Trenchard as they say it does not reflect the concerns of its residents.
The latest inspection was carried out in March 2014, and the report was published by the Department of Justice this week.
Inspections were carried out by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA), the unit within the Department of Justice responsible for the accommodation of asylum seekers.
“Concerns about the unsuitability of Mount Trenchard Direct Provision centre have been raised since it first opened in 2005, including key issues such as its isolated location, sub-standard food, and shared bedrooms for up to eight adult males from different cultural backgrounds.
“These issues were most notably raised throughout the protests by residents in August of this year. However, the inspections carried out by RIA fail to assess any of these concerns,” commented Ms McHugh.
She continued: “Residents are not even asked their views during the course of inspections. We reiterate our call for an independent complaints mechanism to be established and for direct provision centres to be immediately brought under the remit of HIQA so that psycho-social factors are also considered in line with inspections of residential institutions such as private nursing homes.”