Nasc calls on Minister for Justice and Equality to 'Move the Vulnerable Out'
For Immediate Release
The Department of Justice and Equality have announced their plans for a pilot self-isolation facility and the provision of self-isolation units in direct provision centres across the country. Nasc, Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre appreciates the update and acknowledges the ongoing work of the Department of Justice and the challenges it faces at this very difficult time; however, we don’t believe that these measures go far enough.
Fiona Finn, Nasc CEO: “The ‘Move The Vulnerable Out’ campaign came from the legitimate fears and worries expressed by residents in direct provision centres to us and from the advice of medical and public health experts. Asylum seekers don’t believe that they are safe as it’s impossible for them to follow public health advice to social distance while they are in the centres.”
Speaking on RTE Radio 1 this morning [24 March 2020], Dr. Clíona Ní Cheallaigh said that “the setting of direct provision in which there are multiple people living in the same room, sharing a bedroom, and in which there are large numbers of people congregating everyday to eat meals is just asking for trouble...” She also raised serious concerns regarding the adequacy of a pilot self-isolation unit, saying instead that this needs to be available for everyone.
Fiona Finn, “Residents in the centres are hearing the messages from public health exports. They have heard the Taoiseach announce that there are restrictions on social gatherings of four people or more, who are not from the same household. They do not know how to square this with sharing bathrooms or bedrooms with several others, and kitchens and canteens with dozens of others. Many residents are healthcare workers themselves; they want to support the hospital and other emergency staff who are working non-stop. They’ve been told that the best way to do this is to practice social distance, but it is physically impossible for many of them to do so.”
Fiona Finn, “We like to thank Ireland’s healthcare staff, including local HSE’s Social Inclusion Units for their Herculean work to keep us all safe in the past few weeks. We believe that we need to listen to their expertise so we will continue to urge the Minister for Justice to ‘Move the Vulnerable Out’. We won’t flatten the curve if we allow Covid 19 to spread throughout the centres. If we are truly ‘all in this together’ then urgent action is needed now.”
- Nasc, Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre – Nasc is the Irish word for ‘link’
- Dr Clíona Ní Cheallaigh is an Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine physician. She spoke on Morning Ireland, RTE Radio 1, 24 March 2020
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