Asylum seekers protest at second Waterford centre

Some residents at Tramore facility waiting ten years to have their cases decided

Up to 30 residents of a second direct provision centre in Waterford have begun a protest over asylum application delays .

The residents of Atlantic House Hostel in Tramore began their protest at 6am this morning to highlight conditions at the centre and the direct provision system.

Residents mounted a picket outside the centre at Railway Square in the town, blocking management and staff from entering the premises while also blocking deliveries to the centre.

One of the residents, Wally Osho said the residents were unhappy with the hostel conditions but the focus of their protest is primarily the length of time it is taking to have their applications processed.


“We have situations here where we have parents who have to share a room with their adult children so they are really squeezed in the rooms and it’s not really comfortable for them,” he said.

“Also we are very unhappy with the length of time that we have had to wait to have our applications processed – the amount of time it takes varies from person to person but overall it is not good.

“Minimum , we have some people waiting a year for their application but maximum we have some people here ten years waiting for their case and that is just not right,” he said.

Mr Osho, who is originally from South Africa and has been living at the centre with his 13-year-old daughter, said the residents were determined to highlight their position.

Mr Osho told The Irish Times that Minister of State for Equality, New Communities and Culture Aodhán Ó Ríordáin had visited the centre last week and seen conditions there for himself.

“We are looking for a situation where we can have a one on one meeting with the Minister for Justice so we can tell her from our heart what life is like for us here in direct provision,” he said

Jonathan Moore who operates and manages the centre declined to comment when contacted by The Irish Times and referred all queries to the Reception and Integration Agency.

According to the Reception and Integration Agency, Atlantic House Hostel which has capacity for 65 had some 53 occupants when it was inspected by an RIA inspector in November 2013.

The protest is the second in Waterford in the space of a week and follows a similar protest at Birchwood House in Waterford city where some 112 residents began a protest last Wednesday.

Residents at Birchwood are due to meet with officials from the Reception and Integration Agency later today to highlight their unhappiness at the delays in having their applications processed.

The Waterford protests follow similar protests in Athlone, Foynes, Portlaoise, Kinsale Road and Ashbourne House in Cork as asylum seekers grow increasingly frustrated with delays in the system.

In August, Mr Ó Ríordáin said that the direct provision system was “not humane” and needed to be reformed as a matter of priority.

“I won’t stand over a system of people living in limbo for years on end. It’s not acceptable that children have to grow up in direct provision centres,” he said.

Last month, the Government announced that it had appointed former High Court judge, Mr Justice Bryan McMahon to chair a working group which will examine direct provision for asylum seekers.

Mr Ó Ríordáin told the Dáil on September 29th that the working group is expected to submit a first report on the issue to the Government by the end of the year.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times