Locals told of Covid-19 outbreak in temporary asylum-seeker accommodation

About 100 asylum seekers were moved into a hotel in Cahersiveen, Co Kerry, last month

The four infected people at the Skellig Star Hotel in Co Kerry have been moved to a self-isolation facility in Cork. Image: Google maps

The four infected people at the Skellig Star Hotel in Co Kerry have been moved to a self-isolation facility in Cork. Image: Google maps

 

Business owners in Cahersiveen, Co Kerry, have been informed of an outbreak of Covid-19 among asylum seekers accommodated in a hotel in the town.

The Department of Justice, which oversees the accommodation of asylum seekers, said it could not confirm or deny that residents have tested positive. However, chairperson of Cahersiveen Community and Business Alliance Jack Fitzpatrick said that at a meeting in a car park on Saturday night, the hotel’s manager confirmed four confirmed cases to members of the local business community. They were told all four infected people had been moved to a self-isolation facility in Cork set up to deal with cases of Covid-19 in the direct-provision system.

About 100 asylum seekers were moved into the Skellig Star Hotel in Cahersiveen last month on a temporary basis as part Government efforts to free up space in accommodation in Dublin to stem the spread of coronavirus.

The Government had announced the opening of several new facilities in the face of sustained criticism that not enough was being done to protect asylum seekers from the virus in the overcrowded direct provision system.

Lack of consultation

However while some locals, including Mr Fitzpatrick, said they wanted to make the residents feel welcome, others expressed anger over a lack of consultation with the community.

Mr Fitzpatrick told The Irish Times there was now great worry that the virus will spread in the community. He said shop owners and pharmacies have offered to deliver goods to the hotel so the residents can self-isolate but that some residents were still coming into the town to shop.

“We are not barring anybody from our shops. But we are pleading with them to please remain in the hotel and we will take care of you.”

A department spokesman said it was following HSE advice on dealing with the virus. “The established procedure across all of our centres where a person is suspected of having the virus or is confirmed as having the virus, is that they are moved to one of our dedicated offsite self-isolation facilities.”