"The past and present government has not done anything to help us from this open prison"
A number of residents at the controversial Skellig Star Hotel Direct Provision Centre in Cahersiveen have gone on hunger strike in protest against the ongoing conditions at the centre.
The hotel was opened as a temporary Direct Provision centre in mid-March by the Department of Justice in order to facilitate social distancing, and residents from a number of other centres were transferred to Cahersiveen. Subsequently, a cluster of over 20 Covid-19 cases emerged at the centre.
A boil notice was issued in Cahersiveen by Irish Water and Kerry County Council on 9 July, and residents have claimed that their bottled water has since been rationed to just 1 litre per day for each resident of the hotel.
A source also told JOE that local residents of Cahersiveen delivered bottled water to the centre over the weekend, and that due to English-only signage in the hotel some residents are struggling to understand the boil-only notice. According to a local advocacy group, one such resident was washing fruit for her child in the tap water and another man was brushing his teeth with tap water, contrary to health advice.
In a statement issued this morning, the residents said they are seeking access to a social worker in order to have their health catered for and monitored regularly, and the transfer of all the residents to appropriate accommodation centres (such as Mosney or Tullamore) where they can have "proper vulnerability assessment and get adequate treatment for trauma."
The residents also expressed frustration at the perceived inaction of the previous and current government in resolving issues at the centre;
"It is almost four consecutive months of living in an inhumane condition at Skellig Star Hotel Direct provision and the past and present government has not done anything to help us from this open prison", their statement reads.
"We have sent emails several times highlighting how we have suffered physically, socially, mentally and emotionally due to the treatment received in the hands of IPAS during Covid and post-Covid."
The Department of Justice are expected to issue a statement shortly, while there was no one available from Skellig Star management to provide any comment on the issues raised by residents.