Residents of Athlone Direct Provision Accommodation Centre on Hunger Strike

TPQ features a press release from the Irish Refugee Council.

The residents of Lissywollen Direct Provision Accommodation Centre, Athlone, have been refusing food since yesterday. Nearly 60% of the residents are children. This protest came about in response to the management’s failure to respond to a letter that was drafted by residents on August 1st 2014. In the letter, residents collectively outlined the main complaints that they had with regards to the operation of the centre. This includes the standard of food and the manner in which the food is provided.

This is the second protest taken by residents of the Direct Provision system in less than one month. Residents of Mount Trenchard also refused food and protested in August at the duration spent in Direct Provision, their isolation, living circumstances and separation from their children.

Sue Conlan, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, said:

The residents of Lissywollen wrote a very detailed letter on 1st August 2014 to the management in which they listed their collective complaints. The management agreed at the time to review the letter and get back to the residents with a response and possible solutions to the problems outlined. This has failed to happen.

Conlan went on to say:

People feel that they have no choice left. Refusing food in protest is one thing they can control. We are aware that Aodhain O’Riordhain TD, the Junior Minister, is establishing a Working Group to examine Direct Provision but there are immediate grievances that must be addressed now. We would support the call by the residents for the problems raised to be resolved without further delay.

When asked for comment, the residents simply stated, “the children have suffered enough”.

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