Protest against direct provision centre in Cahersiveen gets underway

Photo: Google Maps

A protest calling for the closure of a direct provision centre in Cahersiveen is taking place today.

The picket was due to start at 8.30am outside the Legal Aid Board offices.

In March, in response to the pandemic, the Department of Justice moved over 100 asylum seekers from their accommodation in Dublin to the temporary direct provision centre in Cahersiveen.

Around 25 residents subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.

However, authorities didn’t confirm this until a number of weeks later despite concerns raised by residents and the wider community.

Residents also say the accommodation is not fit for purpose, a view shared by the Cahersiveen Community and Business Alliance.

Chairman of the alliance, Jack Fitzpatrick, says today’s protest is due to continue until lunchtime.

Last Saturday, a march took place in the town in support of Black Lives Matter and included calls to end direct provision.

A statement issued by the Legal Aid Board says while it respects the right of persons to peacefully protest on matters of public concern, it has no role in the administration of the direct provision system.

It says while the largest share of its annual funding comes through the Department of Justice, it is not part of the department.

It says its role in civil legal aid includes the provision of legal services to applicants for international protection and last year it dealt with 2,500 such applications.