Lisbrook House protesters demand further talks with Justice Minister

Lisbrook House residents and their supporters have not given up the fight to halt the closure of the asylum accommodation centre with this week seeing a delegation of more than 30 people march to the offices of a Galway West TD demanding that further consultations should take place.

The delegation, many members of the Lisbrook House Residents and Supporters Group, assembled at Eyre Square on Monday and marched to the constituency office of Fine Gael deputy Brian Walsh in Bohermore. While a peaceful demonstration was held outside two residents and one of the supporters went into the office and urged Deputy Walsh to contact the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, and halt proceedings. They also demanded that before any further action is taken regarding closure plans, a meeting between Oireachtas members, other political respresentatives from Galway, a delegation from Lisbrook House, and Minister Shatter should take place so that the concerns of residents can be fully heard and alternative options could be explored.

A statement sent to the Advertiser explains that a written letter of explanation and demands was presented to Deputy Walsh, along with paper house models, each containing a letter from children and adult residents of Lisbrook House.

In the statement group member Dette McLoughlin said: “Minister Shatter last week conveyed by letter that a review of the decision to close Lisbrook had taken place, but decided the accommodation centre should close as the problem is ‘unneccessary costs’ of €2 million and that RIA has spare capacity. However, if asylum seekers were given a room per family instead of some having to share, and if individuals were not packed like sardines into other rooms but were accommodated properly, there would not be ‘spare capacity’ at all.

“The support group wants Minister Shatter to be made aware that one asylum seeker in direct provision accommodation has actually admitted that he feels suicidal about being displaced again. A qualified person on asylum and refugee affairs has stated that ‘the effect of the transfer on the children of long-term residents is that they are always left behind educationally whenever they are being moved to another environment’. Due consideration should be given to the residents, rather than them being moved from one accommodation to another.”

It is understood that Deputy Walsh agreed to meet Minister Shatter this week and raise the issue and attempt to arrange a consultation between the different parties.

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