Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow has written to the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, urging her to take more urgent steps to reduce the Covid 19 risk in Direct Provision centres.
Deputy Brady said:
“There is growing fear and uncertainty among residents in Direct Provision centres about their risk to Covid-19 infection. This week we have seen a Covid outbreak at a facility in Wicklow being used for emergency accommodation. Two people at the centre have tested positive for the virus so far.
A total of 115 people in receipt of emergency accommodation are living at the centre, 20 of them children, according to latest Department of Justice figures.
“Many residents have been raising concerns about the Department of Justice and its slow response to the need to remove asylum applicants from communal accommodation.
“Residents of these centres are particularly vulnerable to the spread of Covid-19 due to the nature of the accommodation.
“The government must find a way to get people out of dormitory style or congregated accommodation as quickly as possible and into environments that are much safer. Direct Provision has failed for the vulnerable people seeking our protection, it has also failed public health.
“The must also communicate better with the residents of direct provision centres as to what plans are being put in place in terms of alternative accommodation for those with underlying conditions or for those who need to self-isolate.
“This is causing a lot of fear of and uncertainty among residents.
“I have written to the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, raising these concerns and seeking clarity on the measures in place in terms of self-isolation and for those who need to ‘cocoon’.