Shannonside direct provision centre residents express concern over conditions and poor quality food

Residents of a Shannonside-based direct provision centre claim they are often served food that is close to its use-by date.

The concerns were among several raised in a submission, complied by Longford Community Resources, on behalf of eight people living in a centre in a rural town.

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality has published a report into the direct provision system – with 43 recommendations made to improve the system including relaxing restrictions on work permit for asylum seekers.

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Dozens of submissions were made to committee, including from the Longford Community Resources group – who made a submission on behalf of eight residents of a direct provision centre in a rural town.

Among issues raised by the residents included their accommodation being over-crowded, and they claimed the number of people sharing the same toilet and shower facilities was high

They also claim that food where they are resident is generally of poor quality, often close to its sell-by date.

They stated that they are given Asian food all the time (despite the fact that they are from a variety of countries and continents) with too much oil and lots of fat used.

Issues round recreation are also raised – with the submission claiming that many residents’ experience long periods of boredom.

The submission also claims that a number of people seeking asylum present with mental health issues and others develop mental health problems whilst waiting in direct provision.

Respondents stated that the biggest issue they faced was the length of time that they have to wait for a decision to be made on their application to remain.

One individual went for interview regarding his application and received a letter eight months later stating that he needed to provide further information

Respondents felt that the whole system should be streamlined and sped up and that this would be to the benefit not only to the applicants themselves, but also to wider Irish society.