Government urged to protect vulnerable groups during crisis

covid-19 coronavirus vulnerable groups

The government has been urged to protect vulnerable people by ensuring that no asylum seeker shares a bedroom with a stranger during the COVID-19 crisis.

Galway Anti-Racism Network and Galway Traveller Movement say that the current situation is ‘intolerable and inhumane’.

They commented that to date, people in Ireland have made supreme efforts to implement public health measures aimed at confining the spread of COVID-19.

However, people living in Direct Provision are currently being prevented from adhering to advice on social distancing or self-isolation.

Galway Anti Racism Network said that asylum seekers in Direct Provision centres across Ireland are being compelled to share confined spaces including bedrooms, communal toilets, communal showers, kitchens, and canteens.

“Notwithstanding efforts to temporarily rehouse asylum seekers in hotels, this provisional accommodation continues to require asylum seekers to share communal facilities, including bedrooms, with strangers,” said a spokesperson for the organisation.

“This means that people living in Direct Provision are being treated differently to the rest of the Irish population.

“The practices being followed suggest the health of asylum seekers – and even their lives -are seen, by the Irish state, as being of lesser importance.

“As an anti-racism organisation, we are deeply concerned that such downgrading of the
health welfare of asylum seekers is a sign that the system of Direct Provision is
institutionally racist.

“We do not believe that Irish people under the care of the state would be treated in this way.”