A man living in a direct provision centre in Cahersiveen claims 19 people there have tested positive for COVID-19.
150 asylum seekers moved to the centre at the former Skellig Star Hotel in mid-March.
The move was part of the Department of Justice’s emergency response to COVID-19 whereby people were transferred from emergency accommodation to dedicated centres.
An outbreak of coronavirus at the centre has led to concern locally.
The Department of Justice says it has clear protocols in place where a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, exhibiting symptoms or otherwise requires an isolation facility.
Azwar Fuard, who is originally from Sri Lanka, moved to the centre in Cahersiveen with his family on March 19th due to the public health crisis.
He claims there are now 19 people at the South Kerry centre who now have tested positive for coronavirus.
Mr Fuard says the residents want to be moved to where they can socially distance properly.
He says the Cahersiveen facility isn’t suitable as a direct provision centre, adding social distancing is not possible at there:
Numerous public representatives are calling for action to be taken to address local concerns.
TDs Norma Foley of Fianna Fáil and Pa Daly of Sinn Féin claim they were told by the HSE that it had expressed reservations about the asylum seekers being moved to South Kerry.
Radio Kerry has contacted the HSE for a comment.
A statement from the Department of Justice says there are 56 rooms in the hotel and around 90 people currently in the hotel; no more than two people are in a room except in the case of families.
The Department says it understands people are concerned and recognise public health must be the primary consideration; it worked with the HSE’s National Social Inclusion Team and HSE Public Health in relation to Cahersiveen.
If a case of coronavirus is confirmed or symptoms are exhibited at one of their centres, the department says protocols are in place which involve moving any resident to a special isolation facility, staffed by healthcare staff and others.