Four Kerry TDs call for Cahersiveen direct provision centre to be closed immediately

Four of Kerry’s TDs are calling for the direct provision centre in Cahersiveen to be closed immediately.

The former Skellig Star Hotel opened as a centre for asylum seekers in March.

There’s been an outbreak of coronavirus there and it’s understood 20 cases have been confirmed at the centre.

The first of 150 asylum seekers began arriving in Cahersiveen in 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.

Four of Kerry’s five TDs – Sinn Féin’s Pa Daly, Independents Michael and Danny Healy Rae and Fianna Fáil’s Norma Foley – issued a joint statement this afternoon calling for the immediate closure of the Cahersiveen direct provision centre.

They say it’s a matter of health and safety for all concerned.

The TDs believe it’s not fit for purpose and say it’s not possible to maintain the HSE recommended guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 there.

Earlier today the Department of Justice said there are no plans to close the centre.

It says all residents and staff at the centre have now been tested, with any confirmed cases moved to other health facilities for self-isolation.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin says he is constant contact with the departments of Justice and Health on the matter.

Deputy Griffin says the Department of Justice has confirmed to him that a resident medical professional is now on site, and improved facilities have been introduced for families at the centre.