concerns of poor hygiene, lack of basic provisions, poor food supplies and staff behaviour raised at the Eyre Powell Asylum Centre in Newbridge “were neither surfaced nor addressed as quickly as they might have been” by the Reception and Integration Agency, it has been revealed.
This comes in the wake of a protest letter sent from 44 resident refugees last April to the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, and the RIA about the stark reality of living at the Eyre Powell in recent months.
The Leader can also reveal that the issues in Eyre Powell “reinforced the need” for a redesign of the entire inspection system for refugee centres in Ireland.
According to the statement, plans are already underway to ensure “RIA staff will be trained to identify more accurately issues of concern” while all future completed inspections for the Eyre Powell will be published on line to its website by the end of the year.
Meanwhile QTS - an independent inspections company - has been asked to redesign the template form used by RIA staff in their inspections and to provide more detailed guidelines and training for its completion by RIA staff in the future. The Minister, who has passed all queries about the Eyre Powell to the RIA, declined to comment directly to the Leinster Leader. However, a response from his Press Office on Monday stated that:
“As a learning organisation, RIA believes that there is always room for improvement.”
Protestors received a response from the RIA on July 5 last that claimed eight areas of improvement have since been made to the centre, which is under private contract to the RIA by Cherryport Ltd since 2003.