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Residents “not safe” after COVID outbreak at Killarney Direct Provision Centre

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By Sean Moriarty and Michelle Crean

 

The COVID-19 outbreak at the Atlas House Direct Provision Centre on Park Road is a result of the Government’s lack of action, Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) claimed this week.

Earlier this week 25 residents of Atlas House tested positive for the virus. They have since been transferred to specialist isolation units in Cork and Dublin.

MASI say that they have been warning the Government since last April that Direct Provision Centres are “not safe” as residents cannot properly social-distance in such facilities.

The group say that they are concerned at the ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 in Direct Provision Centres where people are unable to observe all the public health guidelines due to the sharing of intimate living spaces such as bedrooms, bathrooms, canteens, and other facilities with strangers.

At the start of the pandemic, MASI called on the Department of Justice to provide single rooms for single asylum seekers and self-contained units for families. The department, they say, rejected this call and insisted that people keep sharing bedrooms and communal bathrooms.

The prolonged lockdown has also had a negative impact on asylum seekers, particularly children in Direct Provision who are terrified of communal spaces and have had to spend a lot of time in bedrooms.

A MASI spokesperson, who is also coordinating the group of affected Killarney residents, said as many as three people are sharing rooms in Atlas House.

“They are sharing rooms with strangers,” Lucky Khambule, a South African former asylum seeker and co-founder of MASI, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“I have been in contact with the residents of Atlas House,” he added. “They are very scared. There are people dying from this and once you test positive you have no idea how your body will react. That is why they are scared. There is continuous over-crowding in these places, they share wash and cooking facilities, it is the exact opposite to what is happening outside. We warned, last April, that this would happen. Everything has been done wrong but our cries are not taken seriously.”

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth this week said in a statement issued to the Killarney Advertiser that it does not comment on specific COVID-19 cases or outbreaks.

“The health and well-being of all residents during the pandemic remains the highest priority for this Department. To that end a wide range of measures have been put in place across the accommodation network to address any COVID-19 related issues should they arise. These measures were implemented in collaboration with the HSE and informed by regional public health officials and infection control teams. Where off-site isolation is deemed necessary, a resident is moved to the off-site facility and supported while there. The Department will continue to work with the HSE and the Department of Health in the best interests of all residents whilst we remain in the midst of this unprecedented pandemic.”

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Hike up Strickeen Mountain for air ambulance

  Locals and visitors are being invited to join a guided ascent of Strickeen Mountain on July 4 to raise funds for the Irish Community Air Ambulance. The hike, described as an easy to moderate climb and family friendly well be led by Killarney-based Irish Community Air Ambulance volunteer and tour guide Krzysztof Szwab. It […]

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Locals and visitors are being invited to join a guided ascent of Strickeen Mountain on July 4 to raise funds for the Irish Community Air Ambulance.

The hike, described as an easy to moderate climb and family friendly well be led by Killarney-based Irish Community Air Ambulance volunteer and tour guide Krzysztof Szwab.

It is expected that the 7.5km hike will take around three hours to complete and participants will benefit from the expertise of Krzysztof for a minimum donation €10 per person or €20 per family.

Strickeen Mountain is the eastern most peak of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and the hike will start from the Gap of Dunloe at 11am on the day.

As an added bonus fruit and water, donated by local supermarkets including Lidl, Aldi and Daly’s SuperValu, will be provided. The first 20 to register will receive a limited edition Irish Community Air Ambulance face covering snood.

“This is an ideal opportunity for someone who has never climbed this mountain, but wants to do it with the help of an experienced guide,” Donie Lucey, who is one of the Irish Community Air Ambulance’s chief fundraisers, said.

Further details are available from Donie on 086 854 5873 or from Krzysztof on 087 7589697 after 6pm.

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Golf club launches Summer Series competition

By Sean Moriarty Competitive golfing has resumed at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club marking another step towards normality in the locality. The O’Mahony’s Point course hosted an open singles event on Monday last and this competition will continue every Monday for the rest of the summer. Meanwhile the club’s ‘TaylorMade’ Summer Series gets underway at […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Competitive golfing has resumed at Killarney Golf and Fishing Club marking another step towards normality in the locality.

The O’Mahony’s Point course hosted an open singles event on Monday last and this competition will continue every Monday for the rest of the summer.

Meanwhile the club’s ‘TaylorMade’ Summer Series gets underway at the famed Killeen course this coming Wednesday (June 23). This series will continue every Wednesday for eight weeks and top five scorers on each date will qualify for a Grand Final which is scheduled for Sunday, August 22.

“We are delighted to launch the ‘TaylorMade’ Summer Series. This is a singles stableford event taking place on the Irish Open course, Killeen,” said the club’s marketing manager Meg Dalton. “With over €8,000 worth of prizes to be won, this is an event not to be missed. The first opportunity to qualify for the grand final is Wednesday.”

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Investigation continues into New St fire

  Killarney Gardai are continuing their investigation into the cause of a fire on New Street last week. The fire broke out at the Eviston House Hotel in the early hours of Bank Holiday Monday (June 7). It started in a room just off the kitchen on the first floor and spread along the venting […]

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Killarney Gardai are continuing their investigation into the cause of a fire on New Street last week.

The fire broke out at the Eviston House Hotel in the early hours of Bank Holiday Monday (June 7).

It started in a room just off the kitchen on the first floor and spread along the venting and ducting on the first, second and third floors. There was heavy smoke throughout the hotel but all guests were evacuated safely.

The landmark hotel, which also houses the famous Danny Mann pub, has not yet reopened, and local Gardai are still investigating its cause.

“The investigation is ongoing,” a Killarney Gardai Station spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser. “We are establishing the full facts in relation to the fire.”

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