MACROOM locals working with asylum seekers in the town have criticised plans to move five families from the Riverside Park Hotel to Donegal and Leitrim.
The families, received letters from the IPAS (International Protection Accommodation Service) on Tuesday July 6th that they are to be moved to their own door accommodation in Letterkenny and Ballinamore.
Síle Ní Dhubhghaill, who is friends with many of them and is also a member of Macroom Friends of Asylum Seekers told The Southern Star that the families concerned are ‘devastated’ by the news.
‘They have kids in schools and some of them have jobs and it’s just devastating for them to have to move now after settling here. The kids are especially upset as they won’t get to see their friends in school and say goodbye,’ said Síle, who criticised the Department’s ‘lack of humanity’ on this issue.
‘Two of the families immediately appealed the decision but were still told they had to go.’
Síle said that while it’s great that the families are getting their own door accommodation, the problem is the fact that they have to move to Letterkenny, miles away from where they have put down roots.
Síle also feels that these families should be allowed a choice if they want to leave and take up the accommodation or stay.
‘While it was always meant to be temporary accommodation, they shouldn’t leave these families here for two years where they have settled in.’
A spokesperson for the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth said it does not comment on individuals.
‘More broadly, IPAS has committed to ending the use of emergency accommodation for international protection applicants by the end of this year, and moving families to own door accommodation.
‘The Minister understands that moving to new locations is difficult for any family, but by moving to own door accommodation, the outcome for those families will be more appropriate accommodation for their needs.’