Refugee seekers in Ireland complain about living conditions - “expired food and rat infestation”

Demonstrators at the Millstreet accommodation center at Drishane Castle hold up rotten fruit they were received at the center

Asylum seekers staged a demonstration at a direct provision center in Cork on Tuesday, June 25 in order to protest the poor living standards they have been subject to in Ireland.

The Irish Refugee Council said to The Journal that the residents at the Drishane, Millstreet center have been subject to poor living accommodations, including “restrictions on children playing outside, no play room inside, service of expired food, overcrowding including parents sharing beds with children and cockroach and rat infestation.”

The IRC added that efforts by a representative group of the Millstreet center’s residents to discuss concerns with management on Tuesday were “rebuffed.”

Sue Conlan, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, which works to help refugees achieve asylum in Ireland,  said that Minister for Justice Alan Shatter “cannot continue to deny the need for an investigation of the system of Direct Provision system.”

Conlan described it as “a system that is seriously harming the well-being of children and their families.”

“The Minister also needs to be truthful and acknowledge that the proposed legislative reform will not address the needs of those already in the system.” Conlan called for an independent inspections to be introduced at the direct provision centers in the short-term.

Following the resident group’s morning protest on Tuesday, they were able to sit down for with the proprietor for 90 minutes in the afternoon. A further meaning took place the following day, and a plan is being put in place to address the concerns, said a spokesperson for the Department of Justice.

The spokesperson added that the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA), which is run by the department, is being kept fully aware of the matter and it is the aim of RIA, centre management and the residents “to fully resolve any issues of concern in as short a time as possible.”