From top: Map showing distance between Mount Trenchard and Foynes; along the N69 road between Mount Trenchard and Foynes
Limerick migrant rights support group Doras Luimní called for the immediate closure of the Mount Trenchard direct provision Centre in Co Limerick.
It follows the publication of a 55-page report by Doras which contains research about the centre and details the experiences of some of the men who have lived and live in the centre.
Mount Trenchard is a single male direct provision centre located approximately 40km from Limerick city and 5km from Foynes village.
It was first opened in March 2005, subsequently closed in 2006 and then reopened in January 2007. It is privately managed by Baycaster Ltd.
As of November 2018 the centre had 83 residents with a capacity for 85.
From Doras’s report:
Mount Trenchard is located approximately 40km from Limerick city and approximately 5km from Foynes village, which is a 45-minute walk via a dangerous route from the centre.
The remote location of the Mount Trenchard centre was reported as the biggest challenge for all interviewed residents and impacts on residents in myriad ways, including preventing access to essential services, education and employment, as well as on residents mental health and wellbeing.
Interviewees referred to Mount Trenchard anecdotally as “an open prison” and compared it to Guantanamo Bay, due to the remoteness of the centre.
Such comparisons reflect the isolation and social exclusion experienced by residents.
“A lot of people they call it prison, they use the phrase prison. Because number one it is out of town, number 2 the location is very, very far from the route, which is the express route. Number 3 is you don’t see people around, you don’t see houses, you don’t see people, it’s just the building, where it is the male occupants. So everything that happens, happens within the hostel and inside the hostel.”
The closest amenities are located in Foynes village.
Reflecting on the trip from the centre to Foynes village, residents highlighted that it is a dangerous route with no footpath and with cars travelling at a speed of 100km per hour.
“It’s still dangerous, and last Monday actually somebody threw coffee at me. My friend actually 3 weeks ago somebody threw a diaper at him from the car. Imagine somebody had a diaper in the car, they planned it.”
In the experience of practitioners working with residents of Mount Trenchard, residents might stay in the centre for months on end without any interaction with the outside world.
They underlined that being physically removed from the wider community, with limited access to transport and being unable to walk to the nearest village, has a negative impact on residents’ well-being, including their mental health.
“It kind of comes back to the individual and their own wellbeing and where they’re at, at a given time will depend on how much they engage in something. So they could go for huge amount of time, 6 months to a year without having to interact with anything. And everybody is ok with that. That’s not healthy for lots of reasons.”
The report can be read in full here
Previously: “We Want To Be Heard By The Irish People”