A new Direct Provision Centre in Letterkenny is set to begin housing families from late January 2021, the government has confirmed.
Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman has today announced details on the establishment of the ‘Port Road Accommodation Centre’ for up to 60 families.
While the government is moving closer to ending Direct Provision, Minister O’Gorman said suitable accommodation must be ensured for people who arrive in Ireland seeking asylum.
He commented that Letterkenny is a “welcoming town” and a Friends of the Centre Group will be set-up to promote integration opportunities between residents and the local community.
The Direct Provision Centre will be located at former student accommodation buildings on the Port Road. The centre will be managed by Bridgestock Care.
Supports and service provision for residents is set to be provided by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Department of Health and HSE, the Department of Education and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.
Minister Roderic O’Gorman TD said, “I am pleased to see the opening of the Port Road Accommodation Centre, which provides for independent living in own door apartment units. The accommodation is in line with the National Standards for Accommodation Centres adopted in 2019 and which will come into effect on the 1st of January 2021.”
“The White Paper on ending Direct Provision is currently being drafted and my Department is currently engaging with departments and agencies on how to replace the current system of Direct Provision. In the meantime, we must ensure that people who arrive in Ireland seeking asylum have access to suitable accommodation. ”
“I know that Letterkenny is a very welcoming town and I look forward to the establishment of a Friends of the Centre Group which will help to promote integration opportunities between residents and the local community.”
Last night’s announcement has been met with concerns among local representatives. An emergency meeting of Letterkenny-Milford Councillors is being sought on the matter, with Cllr Michael McBride suggesting that the Minister for Justice should be invited to attend.
Commenting on social media last night, Cllr McBride said: “The people of Letterkenny need answers, we are a multicultural society that lives in harmony but this plan is unprecedented and must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
“Can 350 people possibly live in 60 2/3 bedroom apartments (an average of around 6 people per apartment ?). What about schools, healthcare and the welfare of everyone involved and affected by this plan?”