Anti-racism body in appeal over closure

Tue, Sep 11, 2012, 01:00

RESIDENTS AGAINST Racism has appealed to Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to review the decision to close one of the west’s largest hostels for asylum seekers.

Some 300 asylum seekers and their children at Lisbrook House, formerly the Ibis Hotel in Galway, face dispersal to other locations, due to the sudden closure of their accommodation centre.

Labour TD for Galway West Derek Nolan has described it as a “terrible way to treat people”, given that many of the residents had integrated into the community and had school children who have started a new term.

Rosanna Flynn of the anti-racism grouping said Mr Shatter must review the decision, which was conveyed to individuals staying at Lisbrook last week by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA). “We understand that some hostels may close due to the drop in the number of asylum seekers arriving in Ireland, but this is one of the biggest and it is the wrong choice,” Ms Flynn said.

The Department of Justice has confirmed Lisbrook is closing as part of an “ongoing consolidation” of accommodation for asylum seekers across the State. It said the RIA was accommodating 5,423 asylum seekers at the start of 2011 and this had “reduced” to 4,989 people – a decline of 8 per cent – as of August 26th, 2012.

This decline was part of a “continuing trend” and the agency had reduced its accommodation portfolio from 60 centres to 37 since 2009 “to address this”.