Direct Provision Centre COVID-19 cluster growth cases a concern

Sanctuary Runners founder, Graham Clifford

Sanctuary Runners founder, Graham Clifford

A cluster growth of COVID-19 cases at the Temple Spa Accommodation Centre is “significantly troubling” and necessitates immediate intervention, such is the view of Sanctuary Runners founder, Graham Clifford, who this week spoke to the Athlone Advertiser with regard to the issue which is the source of much debate, at both local an national levels.

“While the community spread of COVID-19 across Ireland has been somewhat suppressed the same can’t be said for the situation in Direct Provision centres where the number of positive cases and clusters grows daily and what is happening at the Temple Accommodation centre in Moate is similarly troubling with at least 10 positive cases and in excess of 20 persons in isolation within the facility.

“It is clear that direct provision centres, no matter their structure, design or differences, are all inherently places where COVID-19 spreads and spreads quickly.

“It has nothing to do with asylum seekers and everything to do with the conditions in which they must live and the lack of space there is to practice social distancing. A dustmite would struggle to avoid the virus in these centres let alone a human being.

“Whether the centre is one building, or a ram shackle collection of disintegrating mobile homes the outcome will be the same and at the heart of this deeply disturbing institution is a socially accepted lack of equality.

“It would be inconceivable to think of any situation where Irish people, who have committed no crime, would be put at such risk during a deadly pandemic and I say that while fully acknowledging the dire situations in so many nursing homes.

“Yet for 20 years the system of Direct Provision has been allowed to sustain with hundreds of millions earned by business entities while people live in, oft times, outrageous conditions and it is so important that people understand the public health impacts here too. Direct Provision centres are not islands, they do not exist in isolation.

“It is now time we realised that if we want to protect ourselves, protect our families, protect our societies and protect our country we must open our eyes and hearts and protect those seeking asylum. It seems like its taken a pandemic for people to finally start realising that,” Graham asserted.


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