Asylum seekers have mounted a two-day protest in Killarney this week claiming that they are being forced to move to other accommodation centres in Kerry to make way for a group of male asylum seekers that are being moved from centres outside Kerry.
Up until this weekend Park Lodge in Killarney was home to 45 women from different countries who are seeking asylum in Ireland. Since then approximately 25 have been moved to other centres in the county.
Many of them have lived at Park Lodge for several years and have jobs and access to medical care in the locality. The move for some means they have no longer travel easily to work and have will difficulty accessing to vital supports such as GP’s.
Their sudden change in accommodation has angered the asylum seekers who have been protesting on Monday and Tuesday at the Killarney centre. They are from countries including Ghana, Somalia, South Africa and Zimbabwe and have made their homes in Killarney.
The ongoing arrival of Ukrainian refugees to Ireland has put pressure on the asylum accommodation centres making it difficult to find suitable accommodation for both Ukrainians arrivals and those seeking asylum from other countries. Access to vital services including GP’s is also difficult due to increase of refugees in Kerry.
No official notice was given to the asylum seekers from the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth under whose remit asylum seekers now fall.
A spokesperson for the group told The Kerryman that they are being treated unfairly.
"We don’t want to leave .. why are they moving us .. This is not okay,” said Nobuhle Dube.
"Some have been here for more than seven years and some for months and we are told to leave, it is our home. We understand there is a crisis but why move us?.”
She said they feel very disappointed at our treatment
"We feel like they are failing us, they take our lives away in one day. At least they could give us notice. We are human beings,” she said.
The Department did not respond to specific questions but said they are currently examining all accommodation options.
“Ireland is currently experiencing a sharp increase in the number of arrivals of people seeking international protection from all parts of the world. The exponential increase in these numbers necessitates that the management of the available accommodation is managed to best reflect the needs of those arriving.”
Management of Park Lodge were contacted and told The Kerryman to contact International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) who fall under the Department of Children and Equality and are responsible for the accommodation of asylum seekers and refugees. Management at the centres where they have been moved to have also been contacted but there was no response at the time of going to print.