Tag Archives: Direct Provision

Shannon Key West Hotel, Rooskey, Co Roscommon

The Department of Justice has confirmed that a plan to provide an accommodation centre for asylum seekers at a disused hotel in Rooskey, Co Leitrim, will not now go ahead.

An issue over the lease of the property, which was damaged in two arson attacks in the last four months, is the reason not to proceed.

Plans for Rooskey asylum centre will not go ahead (Ciaran Mullooly, RTE)

From the Ombudsman’s report into complaints made to him about Direct Provision

This morning.

Ombudsman Peter Tyndall published a report on the complaints his office has received from people living in Direct Provision.

In total, the office received 148 complaints in 2018.

As of January 1, 2019, there were 6,592 people living in direct provision.

In relation to the lack of self-cooking facilities in direct provision centres, Mr Tyndall said these facilities will be rolled out this year.

But he can’t say when.

He writes:

In my previous commentary I said that residents’ feedback to my staff was that their ability, or inability, to cook their own meals was the single most important issue for them.

Based on the feedback from residents to my staff in 2018, this largely remains the case.

My staff heard strong expressions of frustration from residents at some centres where self-cooking facilities are not in place or where the facilities are in the process of being provided but where there have been, and continue to be, delays in the provision process.

On the other hand, there are a number of centres which superficially appear to have very limited self-cooking facilities (eight hobs in one centre).

However, both management and residents at that centre told my staff that there was enough self-cooking to satisfy residents’ needs and there were never any problems with residents accessing the facilities that were there whenever they wanted to.

My office has engaged with RIA on this point which has confirmed that the Department has started a procurement programme for Direct Provision accommodation which will be rolled out on a regional basis by the end of 2019.

As part of the specifications for the competitions, tenderers will be asked to provide cooking facilities for residents.

Successful tenderers will have up to 16 weeks to provide those facilities from when they are notified that they have been successful.

RIA states that it is not possible at this stage to provide a timetable for when individual centres will have the cooking facilities rolled out.

This is because of the roll-out of multiple regional competitions and also because some providers may be able to deliver the required services in less than the full 16 weeks.

My staff will continue to engage with RIA on this programme over the course of 2019 and will see for themselves what progress is being made
when they visit the relevant centres during the year.

Read the report in full here

Roosky on the River Shannon

Roosky/Rooskey, Roscommon-Leitrim border

The designated home of a new Direct Provision centre – target of two suspected arson attacks – and scene last Sunday of an anti-racism rally where, amid some confusion, villagers, who objected to the impression that locals were being branded racist, clashed with organisers.

Broadsheet commenter ‘IsItTeaYou’reLookingFor’ writes

Niamk Kiernan and the rest of the Rooskey locals who are overwhelmingly in agreement with her (I’m from here) are not saying that the hotel should not be offered up to asylum seekers.

The fact is that these people are being dumped in this hotel in the middle of nowhere with no access to any amenities or chance of employment/social enrichment.

There’s a lot of important context for why Rooskey and its people are so upset by this asylum centre and the “it all boils down to racism or xenophobia in some way” stance a lot of people find themselves taking.

A stance which is understandable when you see just how much emphasis is being placed on the racism agenda to the point of neglecting the actual and reasonable concerns we’ve been trying to raise.

Here’s some of the reasons there’s so much opposition for this centre:

There hasn’t been a bus service in the area for going on a decade now. Getting from the village to neighbouring towns and culture/entertainment is both a necessity (there’s *nothing* in Rooskey) and a serious struggle.

The isolation is a pretty big contributing factor for the high suicide rates Roscommon, Leitrim and Longford have experienced in the past years (fyi Leitrim has the 3rd highest rates in Ireland currently – behind Cork and Monaghan).

The GP clinic only opens for a few hours a week for prior appointments only. This is a service that for as far back as I can remember was struggling to cope with servicing the area; you could be in the waiting room for up to three hours back when it was first come first served.

The appointments-only schedule means that the GPS don’t lose their sanity, but it certainly means that many people – the elderly in particular – simply delay seeking medical help and suffer in silence, or have to arrange transport to the next closest GPs in Mohill or Longford.

The main point is that it is an already overloaded system that definitely would collapse with such a large influx of new residents.

The Garda Station is open for a grand total of 2-3 hours per day. You have to hope that in the event of an assault, burglary or domestic violence incident, the perpetrator(s) have the decency to carry out their business during these working hours – the chances of anyone actually turning up to investigate calls for help are almost hilariously low even when someone’s in office.

The nearest hospital’s A&E unit was shut down in 2011 which means that for the all too frequent emergencies residents encounter – when the young people have had to move away to find jobs and the population is aging its a regular occurrence – unless an ambulance was passing the area en route to Sligo or Portiuncula at just the right time you’re looking at a bare minimum of 45 mins for help to arrive, before facing a 2 hr drive to receive critical treatment.

And that’s if the medic drives like the clappers the whole way. God forbid you have to avoid traffic or the perpetual and ineffectual roadworks – the Golden Hour crucial for preserving life is a dot in the rearview mirror by the time you roll up to the hospital entrance.

The village is an empty shell. A large portion of main street is vacant buildings, or in many cases the dilapidated ruins of them. There’s four pubs, a post office, a community centre (unsure how much use it gets these days but I know people are trying to keep it entertaining), one shop, two takeaways, a primary school, nursing home and a church.

There’s nothing recreational for people to do in the village if they aren’t inclined to be drinking, the broadband is about as reliable as warm, sunny weather in Ireland, and if you don’t have a licence and car of your own you’re for all intents and purposes stranded in the middle of nowhere.

– As noted earlier, there are no job prospects at all around here. To be earning money you’re either going to be a farmer or you’ve got to move to where the work is. The loss of the two local factories (VistaMed relocated this decade and Hanley’s went up in flames back in 2002) in addition to the closing of the Shannon Key West Hotel in 2011 means that the primary – heck, the sole – attraction we have at this point is attracting tourism from the passing boats and descendants of emigrants returning to find their roots.

You can imagine how helpful the lack of accessible public transport is on that front – and visitors having no options other than the four pubs for entertainment doesn’t make for a great family trip (the wojus internet service is the icing on that boredom cake).

This has meant that moving to Dublin/Galway/Cork  or even migration is what the majority of the younger generation here are resorting to – we all know trying to maintain a y balance life is a struggle in Ireland with the jump in renting costs and drop in available accommodation.

There’s absolutely nothing for us here.

Why would anyone think it a good idea to effectively dump asylum seekers who’ve already been through a lifetime of trauma and hardship into a ghost town to rot under the guise of care and housing?’

Monday:  You’re Not From Around Here, Are You?

Pic: Shannon Navigation

yesterday.

Roosky, County Roscommon-Leitrim border

Rooskey resident Niamk Kiernan (top left) clashes with anti-racism activists, including Izzy Kamikaze (top right), during a protest at recent arson attacks at a hotel in the village earmarked for Direct Provision….

Meanwhile…

Meanwhile

RTÉ News coverage last night.

Protest over direct provision plans for hotel in Rooskey (RTÉ)

Last night.

At the Shannon Key West Hotel in Co Leitrim.

Three fire brigade units responded to reports of a fire at the building which has been earmarked for a direct provision centre and which was the subject of a suspected arson attempt last month.

Last night RTÉ reported:

“…there is no visible signs of a blaze or smoke emerging from the building, and an investigation is under way.

Locals say a report was made that a non-identified object had been thrown on to the balcony on the first floor of the building, but this has not been confirmed by gardaí.

The scene has been sealed off and a full examination will take place…”

Fire brigade respond to incident at Rooskey hotel marked for asylum seekers (RTÉ)

Top pic: Ciaran Mullooly

Short Talks with Bairbre Flood.

A new podcast series presented by journalist Bairbre Flood, who writes:

Vukasin Nedeljkovic (top left) is an artist, activist and academic who has carefully documented every Direct Provision centre in Ireland through his photography, now available as a hardback here.

Vuklasin recently gave a talk in The Glucksman Gallery and I caught up with him afterwards to discuss his new book and about an exhibition of Asylum Archive in the Triskel Arts Centre, Cork, on the 7th February, which runs until March 29th.

Short Talks with Bairbre Flood

Asylum Archive exhibition (Triskel)

Asylum Archive

Yesterday.

Rooskey, County Roscommon.

A protest organised by Leitrim And Roscommon United Against Racism outside the Shannon Key West Hotel earmarked for Direct Provision and the target of an arson attack last week.

The rally got under way at lunchtime with speaker after speaker condemning the Direct Provision system which is now in its 19th year.

Organisers said they want to see an end to the Direct Provision system in Ireland and the manner in which direct provision centres are imposed on communities without consultation.

The participants from Leitrim, Roscommon and beyond said they stand in solidarity with the people of Rooskey.

There were not many townspeople in attendance. Some feel the events of the past week have unfairly drawn negative attention to the town.

Locals say while refugees would be welcome there are not sufficient facilities or services in the village for them.

Rally against racism held outside fire-damaged hotel in Rooskey (RTÉ)

Leitrim and Roscommon United Against Racism (Facebook)

Saturday: Free Tomorrow?

The Shannon Key West Hotel, Rooskey, County Roscommon earmarked for Direct Provision; the hotel following a suspected arson attack last Thursday night.

 

Leitrim and Roscommon United against Racism write:

An anti-racist gathering will be held tomorrow at 12.30 pm in Rooskey [County Roscommon] at the Shannon Key West Hotel.

The gathering is intended to give people from the Leitrim Roscommon area an opportunity to condemn the arson attack on the Hotel and to reject the kind of casual racism that is increasingly directed at members of ethnic minorities, asylum seekers and refugees.

Those organising the event want an end to the Direct Provision system which incarcerates and isolates asylum seekers.

They are also opposed to the manner in which Direct Provision centres are imposed without consultation on small communities.

However the existence of the system cannot be used as an excuse for racism and for arson.

Anti-Racist Gathering In Rooskey (Facebook events)

Thanks Eamonn Crudden

From top: The Shannon Key West Hotel, Rooskey, County Roscommon this morning; Rooskey this morning; Statement from the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan

Last night.

Rooskey, County Roscommon

The 39-bedroom hotel has been the subject of significant controversy since the Department of Justice confirmed proposals before Christmas to provide accommodation for 80 asylum seekers there.

When gardaí and the emergency services arrived at the scene, they found the building reception enveloped with smoke.

It is understood a security operative was present on the first floor of the premises when the fire began.

Gardaí will investigate claims that a number of individuals broke into the premises to spread flammable liquids in the hotel.

Fire at Rooskey hotel marked as possible direct provision centre (RTÉ)

UPDATE:

Anticipointment tweetz:

Key West Shannon, a hotel which was to become home to 80 asylum seekers is on fire. Here are screenshots from a far right youtubers video about the hotel where numerous people advocate arson and racial violence.

UPDATE:

On November 7, 2018, in the Dáil.

Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy said:

“Over the weekend in the village of Rooskey, which is eight miles from my place on the County Leitrim side, we were told that a refugee centre was moving to the old Shannon Key West Hotel. No one in the community has been informed.

“A meeting has been organised by some of the people involved with community groups only. They have picked special people to go into it. As a local Deputy, I was not even asked. I imagine Deputy Martin Kenny, as the Deputy on the Leitrim side, was not asked.

“Why is the Government doing this under a secret type of cover? Why is the Government not coming to the communities? By the way, the communities will take on this challenge and support those people. The people who are bringing this in are saying we are going to have extra teachers in the school and extra support for the doctors, but these things are not happening.

“They did not happen in Ballaghaderreen either. Communities are prepared to support these people but I appeal to the Government to give back-up to communities to help and assist them.”

Transcript via Kildarestreet.com

Tomorrow at 8pm.

At the Belltable at 69 O’Connell Street, Limerick.

There will be a reading of the play Displace by Katie O’Reilly.

Belltable writes:

A cyclical history of Ireland’s dark secrets. Spanning generations, Displace delves into the underworld of Irish institutionalisation. From the Magdalene Laundry to Direct Provision, we are brought with Molly and Fidda as they navigate through the labrynth of bureaucracy, violence and isolation and ask – how far have we come?

Following on from the work-in-progress last June, we are delighted to present a rehearsed reading of the final script of Displace, developed as part of Katie O’Kelly’s residency at Belltable, supported by Limerick Arts Office.

This reading will mark International Human Rights Week, and will be followed by a short post show discussion.

Tickets, for €8, can be bought here