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.
@Rubberbandits please share we have to stop this. He has given many of the statements and made many of the requests for the group so far. He is a stalwart and a leader and a really gentle, sweet man 💔#hungerstrike #shutskelligstar #Moveusout pic.twitter.com/TOulzzociL
— Déirdre Ní Shéaghdha/Dee O’Shea (@EngAdvIre) July 28, 2020
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.
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.
Solidarity with asylum seekers who resolved to go on a hunger strike. They have, on numerous occasions, raised their concerns with @DeptJusticeIRL and they are ignored. There is nothing in the town for them. pic.twitter.com/UHZJffLVAo
— MASI - Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (@masi_asylum) July 28, 2020
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".
The residents of #skelligstar have been through enough and now they are on hunger strike until 3 clear, humble demands are met. Help us to amplify their statement so that @rodericogorman @HMcEntee take action. #shutskelligstar #moveusout #enddp @UnaMullally @TadhgHickey pic.twitter.com/O86LZvpeE0
— Solidarity with Skellig Star Hotel Residents (@CahersiveenDP) July 28, 2020
"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".
With Clare and Trisha at the protest #EndDirectProvision in #Cahersiveen. This situation is deadly serious with residents on hunger strike. Protesters gathering again at 6pm tomorrow. If you're in South Kerry, join them. pic.twitter.com/hpIwuuXW37
— Cleo Murphy (@cleomurphy64) July 28, 2020
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.
The residents are now entering their second day of the hunger strike.
Locals at Cahersiveen marched to Skellig Star Hotel today, showing solidarity with asylum seekers on hunger strike at the centre. pic.twitter.com/P3bSosf9jR
— Shamim Malekmian (@ShamimMalekmian) July 28, 2020