Asylum seeker says he was mistreated after row


AN ALGERIAN political asylum seeker who was left homeless for four nights says he has been mistreated by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) for asylum seekers, the Garda Síochána and St James’s Hospital in Dublin.

Faycal Daoud (32), who has severe epilepsy, is on a range of medications and needs a specialist diet.

He has been in Ireland for three years and was housed first in Globe House reception centre in Sligo, which he previously described as a “living hell”.

He made a number of complaints about food, hygiene and the attitude of staff – on which neither the manager nor the Department of Justice would comment.

He was evicted, taken back and then transferred to Hatch Hall accommodation centre in Dublin.

Following a series of complaints there about food and hygiene, he was involved in a row with staff on Monday about the fact he had, he says, been provided with plain chick-peas for dinner for the fourth consecutive day.

During the row, management called the Garda. “They told me I was under arrest. I had a seizure and I woke up in the emergency department of St James’s Hospital.”

He was treated and brought to Harcourt Terrace Garda station where, he alleges, he was mistreated. Mr Doaud says he asked to see the ethnic liaison officer on duty, but was not facilitated.

He was brought before Dublin District Court on Tuesday where he was charged with damage to property at Hatch Hall and ordered not to enter the premises again. He was released on bail and had nowhere to go, he says. He has not been able to retrieve his belongings.

By this stage, he says, he had not eaten for two days. “I was feeling very dizzy and sick. I was sitting on Dame Street and I could feel a ‘grand mal’ seizure was coming. I called 999 and I had it [the seizure] there.”

He was brought by ambulance again to St James’s and treated in the emergency department. He was there for about 12 hours, he says. When the hospital sought to discharge him on Wednesday, he says he still felt dizzy and had nowhere to go.

His solicitor, Gerard Cullen, who is based in Carrick-on-Shannon, contacted the hospital by fax on Wednesday evening saying Mr Daoud “should be housed – on his release from hospital – in conformity with his medical needs as a person suffering from uncontrolled epilepsy”.

He was discharged and made contact with the Dublin Simon rough sleeper team, which made a hostel bed available to him, but he was then offered a bed for the night by a friend.

On Thursday night he stayed a second night with his friend. He was unable to retrieve his belongings due to the court order to stay away from Hatch Hall.

Following a series of interventions by Mr Cullen, he was last night offered accommodation for the weekend in a city-centre bed and breakfast establishment. He has been told he must travel to an RIA accommodation centre in Mount Trenchard, Foynes, about 40km from Limerick city, on Monday.

Mr Cullen was last night “gravely concerned” for his client’s health should he be moved from friends in Dublin “to a remote location 40 minutes away from a hospital”.

A spokesman for the RIA could not comment on an individual case.

A spokesman for An Garda Síochána said it was policy not to comment on named individuals. “If a member of the public feels that they have been directly affected by the conduct of a member of An Garda Síochána they can make a complaint to the Garda Ombudsman.”

A spokesman for St James’s Hospital could not comment on an individual patient but said any former patient who felt unwell following discharge should report to the accident and emergency department or to their GP.