Direct provision centre residents hold memorial following woman’s death

Asylum group suggests body discovered at Glounthaune facility after resident not seen for several days

People living in a Co Cork direct provision centre held a memorial for a female resident who died there in recent days.

A woman's body was found in a room in the Ashbourne House accommodation centre in Glounthaune last Thursday. The woman, known to residents as Paulina, was originally from Africa.

Bulelani Mfaco, an activist with the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (Masi), said residents of the centre were "distraught" over the news of the woman's death. He said Masi wanted to see an inquest take place into the circumstances surrounding Paulina's death.

He said he believed she was last seen “several days” before her body was found.

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“The time or date of date (of her death) hasn’t been established,” he said. “I understand she didn’t have a family in the centre, but she would have made friends with other people in direct provision.”

A Garda spokeswoman confirmed the force was called to the asylum centre last Thursday evening following discovery of a woman’s body.

The body was removed to Cork University Hospital for a postmortem but the spokeswoman said the findings of the examination were not being released “for operational purposes”.

Gardaí are investigating the circumstances of Paulina’s death but it is not understood to be considered suspicious.

Don’t comment

Minister for Equality Roderic O'Gorman said a report would be carried out into the death, which is the case in every instance where a resident dies in direct provision.

“We haven’t gotten details in terms of the conclusion of the investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death,” he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland. “We don’t comment on individual cases when someone in a direct provision centre passes away.”

The International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS), which manages the asylum system, expressed "its sympathies to the family and friends of the deceased".

Where a resident in direct provision dies, the IPAS refer the matter to gardaí, who in turn would refer the case to the local coroner.

The IPAS said “residents and centre staff are provided with the necessary supports during this difficult time”.

Residents in the centre held a memorial service for Paulina at 6pm on Tuesday in Ashbourne House.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is a reporter with The Irish Times