Four babies in Direct Provision are sleeping without cots in a hotel in Limerick 1 week ago

Four babies in Direct Provision are sleeping without cots in a hotel in Limerick

Those supporting people in Direct Provision said the case shows private accommodation is not suitable for people looking for international protection.

Four families in Direct Provision do not have cots for their babies to sleep in, because they're staying in a hotel.

Many of Ireland's Direct Provision centres, where those seeking asylum stay while their application is being processed, are full. Over 1,500 asylum seekers are currently staying in emergency accommodation in hotels or B&Bs across the country.

For several months, a hotel outside Limerick city has been used to accommodate those in Direct Provision. Doras Luimní, which promotes the human rights of asylum seekers and refugees, told JOE that there are currently four babies staying at the hotel who do not have cots, or "adequate sleeping arrangements".

"Parents have even had to sleep with their newborns between them in beds - something that has caused us great concern," John Lannon, the chairperson of Doras Luimní, said.

Lannon said that it is the responsibility of the government's International Protection Accommodation Service to provide the families with proper beds for the infants, and not the hotel's.

He said that Doras Luimní has a good working relationship with the hotel, and that issues regularly come up which show that "emergency hotel or B&B accommodation is unsuitable for people seeking International Protection".

In some cases, organisations like Doras Luimní or members of the public have had to donate money to buy sterilisers for newborn babies staying in the hotel.

"In the absence of the adequate provision of food, medicine and equipment by RIA for the care of infants, Doras has had to either use its limited resources to pay for items, or rely on public donations to provide these essentials," Mr Doran said.

He said that the government's International Protection Accommodation Service, previously known as the Reception and Integration Agency, had promised to repay Doras Luimní for the things it had bought for those in Direct Provision, "but so far have not done this".

He added that because the state is using private emergency accommodation, there have been cases of families in Direct Provision being "transferred to distant locations with less than 48 hours’ notice". This can happen after families have already started enrolling their children in local schools, or going through an application for social welfare.

"The use of these emergency accommodation centres was initially said to be temporary, though with the establishment of new emergency centres around the country, it appears that this is not the case," Doran said.

A spokesman for the Department of Justice told JOE that hotel management said "travel cots are provided to any guests who request one".

When asked if the department believed that it was the hotel's job to provide cots, rather than the International Protection Accommodation Service, the spokesman said that the IPAS liaises with hotel management "to ensure that guests’ needs (including any specific requirements for children)  are met as soon as possible".

"Temporary accommodation is booked from hotels and guesthouses. The provision of appropriate beds is a matter for the hotel management as would be the case for any other paying guest."