| 13.8°C Dublin

Tension as asylum seekers refuse to move

TENSIONS were high at Mosney today as more than 100 asylum seekers demanded not to be moved to Dublin.

Department of Justice officials were preparing for a stand-off today as the asylum seekers were expected to resist any attempts to move them from the former holiday camp.

The department said it wanted to save money by moving 111 people from the Mosney Reception Centre in Co Meath to centres, mainly in Dublin.

But a large group of objectors staged a second day of protests outside Mosney today.

As many as 800 asylum seekers live in the complex, with the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) planning to move over 100 of them today.

The Department of Justice said spaces had become available in other centres, particularly in Dublin city.

The asylum system costs €90m a year and is one of the many areas targeted for cutbacks by the Government.

But the protestors have complained they are being treated like animals. Many of them have been at Mosney for five or more years and insist they will not leave.

The department said only single men and women would be relocated, based on the recommendations of an audit.

The RIA, an agency of the Department of Justice, issued the transfer orders last week.

The first buses to take away the residents were scheduled to arrive at the former Butlins holiday camp this morning.



PRESSURE

Many of the asylum seekers held placards asking that they not be moved.

The Department of Justice lowered the number of asylum seekers it planned to move from 150 to 111 since last week.

However, it is refusing to back down any further and pointed to the "severe financial pressure" on the Government.

A value-for-money audit found savings could be made by moving some of those living at Mosney to hostels, mainly in Dublin.

Asylum seekers are not allowed to work while they await their claims for refugee status to be ruled on.

However, they are provided with accommodation at hostels where their meals are also provided and they are given €19.10 a week to live on.

Families and children have not been targeted for relocation, the department pointed out.

But the asylum seekers complain they have not been consulted about the move and a number of them say they have been shifted from place to place since arriving in Ireland.

Iranian Kurd Bahroz Wakashi has been in Ireland for more than five years, four of them spent in Mosney.

Somalian Adam Dalmar (54) said: "In my case, I'm here five years. We cannot work or integrate with Irish society in the meantime. We are not allowed to, so we are all stuck here, in a limbo.

"We can't work so we don't have money to do all the normal things like integrate with Irish people, go to a cafe, have a meal in a pub."

comurphy@herald.ie


Privacy