A CONTROVERSIAL Direct Provision centre based near Foynes in County Limerick will close for good at the end of February, the Department of Justice has confirmed.
The Mount Trenchard centre is widely regarded as beiong the worst Direct Provision centre in the country, and has been the subject of protests and campaigns by immigrant and human rights groups calling for its closure over the past six years, citing the "inhumane conditions" its residents are subjected to.
Irish human rights group Doras previously released a report on Mount Trenchard, which described the "well established" and "persistent" criticisms of the living arrangements within the centre, citing the isolated rural location, lack of transport links, "punitive and restrictive" and "disturbing" living conditions which one resident called "a jungle and a jail".
The Department of Justice confirmed the closure in a statement seen by The Limerick Leader.
It cited the end of contract with the service provider as the reason for the closure.
“The contract with the service provider for Mount Trenchard ends in February," the statement reads.
"The Department will not be renewing the contract and will be re-accommodating all remaining residents in some of our other centres in the coming weeks.”
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Doras welcomed the announcement of the closure but warned that the Department of Justice would have to take steps to "not only ensure that conditions in all Direct Provision and Emergency Accommodation Centres meet the minimum standards as soon as possible, but to prioritise the replacement of the for-profit, broken system of Direct Provision with a not-for-profit system which ensures that the human rights of International Protection Applicants are upheld at all times."
"While Mount Trenchard is generally seen to be an example of the worst of direct provision conditions in Ireland, there are many other centres across the country which in varying degrees have safety issues, sub-standard living conditions, inadequate management/staffing, and are in isolated locations. Doras calls on the Department of Justice to ensure that minimum standards are met in all forms of accommodation as a matter of urgency."
Doras Director John Lannon said that it is “regrettable that it has taken so long for this to happen.
"So many people have suffered in Mount Trenchard, both mentally and psychologically while the Department of Justice did nothing.”
Residents of the Mounth Trenchard centre will be re-accommodated in other Direct Provision centres following the closure next month.