Asylum seekers go on hunger strike to protest inhumane living conditions at Direct Provision centre
30+ residents at the centre in Cahersiveen are on indefinite hunger strike until the Department of Justice listens to their concerns.
Asylum seekers living in Direct Provision in Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry have gone on hunger strike to protest their inhumane living conditions.
More than 30 out of 41 residents went on strike yesterday morning from 10am, refusing food as they have demanded to be moved to a different centre and given access to a social worker to have their health catered for and monitored.
They have also asked for a proper vulnerability assessment and adequate treatment for trauma.
Residents at the centre, which opened on March 18th by the Department of Justice & Equality as part of their response to the pandemic, have claimed the centre was not fit for purpose, and social distancing is impossible during the COVID-19 crisis.
In early April the first cases of Coronavirus were confirmed at the residence, with more than 22 cases since then.
Asylum seekers calling for the closure of the centre have said that they have been forced to ration food and water, with MASI further stating that locals in the area have had to donate drinking water to residents.
They have also said that if seekers were granted asylum status and allowed to work they would If they would be forced to claims social welfare because the area of Cahersiveen does not have enough economic activity.
Aswar Fuard, a resident at Cahersiveen told RTÉ that they will continue striking until the Department of Justice listen to their concerns.
"This place is not okay. We should be moved, but the department is not listening."
"We started this hunger strike today; we will continue and we are not going to stop.
"One day, two days, three days, a week - we will continue."
Aswar, who moved to Ireland from Sri Lanka in May 2019 to seek asylum lives at the direct provision centre in Cahersiveen with his wife and one of his children.
"If there is another wave of coronavirus, this place is going to be a problem and we will be affected. We should be moved to a self-contained unit, with access to a social worker," he said.
"We need to restart our lives. While we are here, we will not recover".
Locals plan to support the strike by joining them in a protest outside the centre at 6pm this evening.