Minister for Justice to visit asylum centre

Fitzgerald wants asylum seekers to live in ‘most humane system possible’

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The Minister for Justice is to meet asylum seekers living in a Co Limerick direct provision centre, described by the Irish Refugee Council as “one of the worst in the system”.

In Limerick yesterday Frances Fitzgerald said she wants asylum seekers in Ireland to live “in the most humane system possible”.

Doras Luimní, an organisation for migrant rights in the mid-west, has called for the closure of the Mount Trenchard direct provision centre in Foynes, Co Limerick.

Last month a number of residents claimed they were moved within 10 minutes of protesting over living conditions at the centre, which caters for around 50 men in dormitories. Some residents also went on hunger strike in a bid to highlight conditions.

“I am awaiting a time when they [Irish Refugee Council] can meet,” said Ms Fitzgerald, “but I want to discuss with them the actions we are taking and, indeed, we have set up a series of meetings with the residents.

“The head of the RIA [the Reception and Integration Agency, a division of the Department of Justice] has been directly involved, and I want to see any complaints dealt with and, where improvements can be made, they will be made,” she said.

Ms Fitzgerald said a new working group is examining the whole system of direct provision in Ireland to see if improvements can be made.

“I want the most humane system possible that we can have in this country. This is a European-wide issue. We have a 40 per cent increase in asylum seekers. In July we saw the highest number of asylum seekers coming into the country since January 2011. So this is a big issue for Europe, ” she said.

“This is not an easy issue to deal with in terms of the number of people and resources.”

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