The lack of consultation on the move of asylum seekers criticized

Concerns have been raised in a County Westmeath town after 75 asylum seekers were moved to a hotel, with locals saying there had been no consultation over the move.

Asylum seekers say they were abruptly moved from Dublin to Harry’s of Kinnegad more than a week ago.

The well-known N4 hotel has 45 rooms and is located on Main Street.

“We came here to improve our lives,” said one of the asylum seekers, who said he had come to Ireland from Somalia.

“Most of us have children and families, most of us are married. We just want to have a better life for ourselves, but it’s not a better life,” he said. he adds.

“It’s not our choice to be here. We don’t want to be here. We have to be here”

Asylum seekers say they have not received any support or assistance from the government to facilitate their integration.

“We haven’t had anyone to visit us. We don’t have access to doctors. I have IBS and I’ve been off medication for two weeks now, it’s terrible,” he said. declared.

The men say they were subjected to false allegations on social media.

“We see families fleeing us with their children. We are not aliens. We are human beings,” he added.

“It’s not our choice to be here. We don’t want to be here. We have to be here,” he said.

Another man said he traveled to Ireland from Ethiopia.

“I lost my parents and my brother in the Tigray war. I came to Ireland because there was a lot of talk about the ethnic cleansing of my people in this country,” he said.

“There is no other place I could go that would understand my story better than Ireland, but what I found in Kinnegad was nothing like what I expected,” said he declared.

Local resident Saoirse Malone said the city has no amenities to support asylum seekers

Local resident Saoirse Malone said Kinnegad residents are not racist, but they feel disappointed by the lack of consultation over the decision.

“We don’t have amenities for these people. There are no bus lines, there are no medical services, we don’t have a library, we don’t have a community hall. We don’t have amenities for people who already live here,” she explained.

The Ministry of Equality, Children, Disabilities, Integration and Youth said today that since the lifting of international travel restrictions linked to Covid-19, there has been a significant increase newcomers to Ireland seeking international protection.

In a statement, he said that “since the beginning of 2022, around 7,000 people have come to Ireland seeking protection and this is in addition to the arrival of Ukrainians who need help due to the crisis. Ukrainian”.

The Department said that due to unprecedented demand, accommodations across the country have been used to help house applicants in the event of an emergency.

He said Harry’s of Kinnegad has recently been used by the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) to provide such emergency accommodation.

The hotel will accommodate approximately 150 applicants for international protection. IPAS officials work closely with all temporary emergency accommodation providers regarding the services that applicants for international protection will need.

However, local councilor Denis Leonard believes the consultation should have taken place before now.

“Westmeath County Council or the community of Kinnegad were aware of this decision, so although we have been welcoming people to this community of all nationalities for many years, the way 75 asylum seekers have been moved here in a weekend just wasn’t done the right way,” he said.

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