Belfast Telegraph

Footage of 10-bed room housing asylum seekers was staged, claims Government

The video, taken inside the East End Hotel in Portarlington, shows rows of beds next to each other in a small room with no windows.

The footage shows 10 beds in one room (Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland/PA)
The footage shows 10 beds in one room (Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland/PA)

By Cate McCurry, PA

A video circulating on social media showing asylum seekers being housed in a room with 10 beds and no windows was staged, the Department of Justice has claimed.

The footage, said to have been taken inside the East End Hotel in Portarlington, shows rows of beds next to each other in a small room.

The video has been shared and viewed thousands of times.

Many people have condemned the conditions of the accommodation following claims that up to 10 asylum seekers were forced to share one room.

However, a spokesman for the Department of Justice said it has been informed the video “does not represent the reality at this facility”.

In a statement, he added: “Hotel management has informed the Department that last night, a number of residents moved themselves from their assigned rooms into the room shown in the video.

“The footage circulating appears to have been staged and the residents involved have been asked to return to their allocated rooms.

“Similar claims were made about the accommodation in the hotel last autumn and subsequent Department inspections confirmed that the accommodation arrangements at the hotel had been misrepresented in a staged video at that time.

Emergency accommodation is not representative of the overall system of accommodation offered to applicants Department of Justice

“The Department is available at all times to address any concerns that residents have.

“It should be noted that applicants availing of accommodation services may also avail of the services of the Ombudsman who the Department works with to resolve any issues that arise.”

There are 71 asylum seekers who have to share 19 bedrooms at the East End Hotel in what the Department described as “on an emergency basis”.

It said no room is being shared by more than six people.

The East End Hotel has accommodated asylum seekers for a number of months while places are sourced in direct provision centres.

The Department has been using hotels and guesthouses to accommodate asylum seekers because the system is at full capacity.

A number of former residents in the hotel were transferred to the newly opened centre in Ennis before Christmas.

The Department said the need for emergency accommodation arose after a sharp rise in applications for international protection – an increase of 60% in 2019.

“Emergency accommodation is not representative of the overall system of accommodation offered to applicants,” the department added.

“The most recent accommodation centres to open provide own-door, self-catering accommodation.

“As always, the Department would encourage any resident to inform us of any issues that may arise regarding their accommodation.”

PA

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