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Tag Archives: asylum seekers

Their first Noel in Lisdoonvarna

WHILE Christmas means something different in every country, the people of Lisdoonvarna are determined to make sure their newest international residents’ first festive season in Ireland is a special one. Since last March, the King Thomond Hotel has become home to more than 100 people seeking asylum from a large number of countries, including Somalia, Palestine, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal, Iran, Cameroon, Pakistan and Egypt. Over the last few weeks, several local groups and individuals from as far afield as the University of Limerick, have come forward offering their support in different ways, such as the use of kitchen facilities, lifts to and from Ennis and Limerick, Christmas gift cards, toys and clothes, and even an invitation to the Glór Christmas pantomime. The residents in the King Thomond have also been getting involved with several events in the community. A group of the ladies spent weeks practicing for the Clare Crusaders’ Christmas-dance fundraiser in aid of children with special …

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Lisdoonvarna Direct Provision Centre exceeding capacity

MORE people are now living at the Direct Provision Centre in Lisdoonvarna than its contracted capacity. While this does not necessarily mean that the centre at the King Thomond Hotel is overcrowded, it does mean that the numbers coming to the North Clare village are greater than what locals were told would be arriving. According to figures provided by the Department of Justice, there are 117 people living there, while the contracted capacity is 115. In a statement accompanying the figures, the department said, “The contracted capacity is not the maximum capacity. It is what we would ordinarily pay as per the contract. It is not at all unusual for the actual number of persons present in an accommodation centre to be in excess of the contract. This does not indicate that there is overcrowding at the centre. The overcapacity may be due to family configuration reasons, eg where a baby is born to a family etc.” Paddy Dunne of …

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Lisdoonvarna asylum seekers plight shows how fortunate we are-Comment

THERE are many things we complain about in Ireland, sometimes with validity. Our health service is creaking, our property prices are exploding, our weather is appalling, our capital is swallowing the rest of the country, our streets are filled with homeless men and women. All of these are daily complaints that fill our newspapers and chat shows but, for all Ireland’s failings, when we hear the stories of those housed in Direct Provision in Lisdoonvarna, we see that this is not such a dysfunctional society. One man who spoke to The Clare Champion fled the Congo because he feared he would be killed by state forces if he didn’t poison others. Who here will ever be put in such a position? It might seem unbelievable that anyone here over the age of 25 was born into an Ireland where homosexuality was illegal, but things have clearly progressed dramatically. Contrast that with the experience of Sihre Mkandla, who moved in the …

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“I’m here but my heart is not here” -Lisdoonvarna asylum seekers agony

ON a misty Friday morning, the lobby of the King Thomond Hotel is thronged with people from different countries, snippets of various languages filling the air. All of the residents are getting used to the changeable weather of North Clare, while many are learning a new language. A reality of working in local papers is that you frequently meet people who are happy to tell you what they think, but not to be quoted or have their names used. While generally this is because of a type of shyness, when it comes to the asylum-seekers in Lisdoonvarna – who know very few Clare Champion readers – it is in some cases rooted in a genuine fear of reprisal from those who opposed them on another continent. One Kuwaiti woman said she didn’t want to reveal her identity, and had left her home country, because her husband, who is from Bahrain, could be at risk there. “I just want to be …

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Thirty more asylum seekers arrive in Lisdoonvarna

AN additional 30 asylum seekers relocated to the Direct Provision centre in Lisdoonvarna this week. This brings the number of asylum seekers in the North Clare town to approximately 60, although it is understood that some of the first group of asylum seekers have since sought alternative accommodation. The first batch of asylum seekers arrived in Lisdoonvarna on March 12 and are located in the King Thomond Hotel, just outside the town. Up to 115 asylum seekers can be catered for in Lisdoonvarna. At a public meeting in the Pavilion, Lisdoonvarna, on February 23, King Thomond Hotel proprietor Marcus White said that he would listen to the views of local people, if they were opposed to Direct Provision or the arrival of asylum seekers. On February 28, a secret ballot of parish residents was held in the Pavilion. A total of 93% voted 197 to 15, to reject the arrival of Direct Provision in the town. However, the Direct Provision …

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Lisdoonvarna to vote on arrival of asylum seekers

THE people of Lisdoonvarna are set to vote on whether they will accept asylum seekers in the North Clare town from March 5. A Direct Provision centre is to open on the first Monday in March with approximately 30 asylum seekers due on that date. A maximum of 115 can be housed in the King Thomond Hotel in the town. The hotel is owned by Marcus White who spoke at a public meeting last Friday, which was attended by approximately 100 local people. A further meeting has been called for Wednesday night in the Pavilion in the town at which Fáilte Lisdoonvarna, a local community group, has said a vote will take place. The idea of holding a vote had initially been mooted at last Friday’s meeting. “In order to vote, you must be on the register of electors for the parish,” Lisdoonvarna Fáilte said on their Facebook page. “Or bring an official document, bill or a bank statement with …

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Direct Provision in Lisdoonvarna

UP to 115 asylum seekers are to be accommodated at a Direct Provision centre in Lisdoonvarna from March 5. In an email seen by The Clare Champion, the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) has confirmed that the King Thomond Hotel in Lisdoonvarna, owned by hotelier Marcus White, was selected as Clare’s second Direct Provision centre, following a public advertisement for expressions of interest on January 8. The county’s other Direct Provision centre in Knockalisheen, Meelick opened in 2002. When contacted on Wednesday for a comment, Mr White said he could not speak on the matter until Friday, when a representative of the RIA will be in Lisdoonvarna to meet with local councillors and TDs “to answer any queries” they may have. In a short statement, Clare County Council said it had urged the RIA to consult with the community in Lisdoonvarna. “Clare County Council was contacted by the department in relation to this matter last week. Clare County Council strongly …

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Miltown prepares to welcome Knockalisheen visitors

THE book club in Miltown Malbay, which is made up of 12 women, met six weeks ago to discuss the possibility of doing something for asylum-seekers living in Direct Provision in Knocklisheen, Meelick. The group decided that, as some of them have Airbnb accommodation, they would offer families in Knockalisheen a two-night holiday in Miltown. Over the past few weeks, this plan has become a reality. “We meet with the families – made up of 76 individuals, including eight single women, mums, dads and children,” book club member Lorna Cahill explained. “Over half of the 76 people we met are children. We met them every Wednesday and, sometimes, twice weekly. The purpose of our meetings is to plan the holiday, with complete consultation, to get to know the families and build relationships and trust. This has proven extremely successful so far. “As families cannot cook for themselves in the centre, the main focus has been acquiring self-catering accommodation. We have …

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