THE residents of Clonakilty’s direct provision centre enjoyed a slap-up pre Christmas dinner, courtesy of Monk’s Lane in Timoleague.
However, as well as being treated to superb food and hospitality, more importantly, it showed them all that they are valued and equal members of a community.
Gavin and Michelle Moore who run Monk’s Lane extended the invite after they became more aware of Clonakilty Lodge, where the asylum seekers live, through fundraising that Michelle’s sister Siobhán O’Mahony was involved in.
And rather than just contributing to the fundraiser, Gavin said they wanted to do more.
So last Tuesday around 65 people of all ages and nationalities were brought by coach to the popular restaurant where they were first treated to a drinks reception, followed by a meal and music.
‘These are a wonderful bunch of people and it was all about creating awareness and inclusivity in the community,’ said Gavin.
Siobhan said the feedback was that they were all blown away by the treatment they got.
‘There was a drinks reception, there were choices on the menu and crackers – all the standard things you’d expect if you were going out for a meal. They were made feel really special and, more importantly, equal.’
And Siobhan said the occasion had a knock-on impact with people making donations of toys and other items, after hearing and reading about the Lodge and its residents. The centre opened in 2000. It has a capacity for 108 people with 15 nationalities currently represented there.