Asylum seekers at Kerry Direct Provision centre begin hunger strike against 'inhumane conditions'
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Asylum seekers at Kerry Direct Provision centre begin hunger strike against 'inhumane conditions'

RESIDENTS OF a Direct Provision centre in County Kerry have embarked on an indefinite hunger strike in protest against the 'inhumane conditions' they are being kept in.

A number of asylum seekers at the Skellig Star Hotel in Caherciveen, Kerry, yesterday began a hunger strike with the aim to be moved out of the temporary accommodation, which they have been living in for four months.

The hotel has been the centre of controversy since the refugees were moved there at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, with the inadequate facilities leading to 22 of the residents contracting Covid-19 and being moved to an isolation facility.

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There have been multiple calls from migrant right groups, asylum seekers living at the accommodation and the residents of the town for the hotel to be closed, with the final straw coming earlier this week where residents say their access to water was restricted.

A statement released by those on hunger strike draws attention to the "inhumane conditions" at the Skellig Star Hotel Direct Provision Centre and say "the past and present government has not done anything to help us from this open prison".

"We have sent emails several times highlighting how we have suffered physically, socially, mentally and emotionally due to the treatment received ... during Covid and post Covid".

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"We have been traumatized," the statement reads," and for us to recover from this we need to be all moved out of this accomodation immediately."

A number of adults have begun the hunger strike at the accommodation, which hosts 41 people including seven children, and the organisers say that more than 30 previous residents have left the accommodation "because they preferred to be on the street than to continue [to] live here".

The residents say they will continue to strike until their demands are met, which include access to a social worker and a transfer to a new centre "where we can have proper vulnerability assessment and get adequate treatment for trauma".

Accommodation centres in Mosney and Tullamore have been highlighted by those on strike as preferred transfers.

Locals from the town of Caherciveen yesterday marched to the centre in solidarity with those on strike, with some holding signs stating that Direct Provision centres were a violation of human rights.

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The residents are now entering their second day of the hunger strike.