A full Covid-19 risk assessment is to be carried out at a new direct provision centre opening in Letterkenny this month.
The Port Road Accommodation Centre is set to begin housing asylum seekers from late January. Up to 60 families will be accommodated at former student accommodation apartments on the Port Road.
The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth have confirmed that Covid-19 risks will be examined at the centre in collaboration with the HSE and local public health doctors. The transfer of residents will be carried out in line with all Public Health guidelines, according to the department.
The local community has been notified that the Department is working with the HSE, the Department of Health, the Department of Education and Tusla’s Educational Support Service TESS and the Department of Social Protection to ensure that the necessary supports are available to centre residents, with no disruption to services for the local community.
Children of school-going age living in the centre will attend mainstream primary or post-primary schools in the area. Meanwhile, adult residents will be linked in with the English language classes run by Donegal Education and Training Board.
Many of those seeking International Protection are fleeing conflict and oppression in their home countries. The Department has stated that families will have own-door apartment units and the direct provision system is “completely voluntary and residents can live outside the accommodation centre at any time.”
The Department also said a Letterkenny Friends of the Centre Group is being set-up to promote integration opportunities for residents. The initiative aims to bring residents, community members, sporting and voluntary groups together to provide greater community links.