Department of Justice confirms Cahersiveen reception centre won’t be inspected

The Department of Justice has confirmed that the former Skellig Star Hotel in Cahersiveen and other direct provision centres that have had COVID-19 outbreaks won’t be inspected.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan revealed this after being questioned by Sinn Féin spokeperson for health, Louise O’Reilly.

Waterville councillor Norma Moriarty questions why it was fine to hastily assign emergency direct provision for asylum seekers and staff yet these same centres can’t be inspected because of COVID-19.

The people of Cahersiveen, along with the residents of the former Skellig Star Hotel, and politicians have called for the centre to be shut down.

Earlier this week, Kerry Fianna Fáil TD Norma Foley called on the HSE to carry out an urgent inspection at the Skellig Star Hotel, following an outbreak of COVID-19, which has seen over 20 cases there.

On Wednesday, the Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan apologised to the people of Cahersiveen, but said the centre wouldn’t be closing.

Responding to a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin’s Louise O’Reilly, the Minister confirmed the State won’t inspect any direct provision centres where there have been COVID-19 outbreaks.

He said as a result of the health and safety restrictions, it’s not appropriate for inspections to be carried out at this time, adding that all of centres are currently closed to any visitors.

He said as soon as the HSE advises it’s appropriate to start inspections again, relevant officials in the immigration service will resume this.

Waterville Fianna Fáil Cllr Norma Moriarty feels the decision not to inspect the Skellig Star Hotel in Cahersiveen beggars belief.