Govt U-turn on Galway asylum centre closureSeptember 14, 2012 - 7:15am
BY BERNIE NÍ FHLATHARTA
A reprieve for asylum seekers living in an accommodation centre in the city has been welcomed. The decision to close Lisbrook House, formerly the Ibis Hotel off the Headford Road, which has been home to 273 asylum seekers for four and a half years, has been suspended.
The U-turn from Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter follows a week of uncertainty for the residents, many of them families whose children attend local schools.
The single men were to be transferred to the Great Western Accommodation Centre in Prospect Hill, but the families had been informed they were to be relocated to centres outside of Galway as the Eglinton Centre in Salthill was full to capacity.
Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, who met with the residents earlier this week and led a campaign highlighting their plight, said that the way it was handled by the Department breached human and civil rights codes.
“They barely got a week’s notice about the pending closure and then they were told buses would be collecting them within 48 hours. This was done at the start of the school year which would have been very disruptive for the children.
“Though the residents cannot work because of their status in this country, many of them have bonded with the local community through their voluntary work.
“It was badly thought out to close the facility so quickly, but I welcome the Minister’s rethink of the situation.” he said.
A public rally to highlight the issues facing asylum seekers is to go ahead as planned and starts at 1pm in Eyre Square on Saturday.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.