In response to the news that Caiseal Mara Hotel in Moville is shortly to become a Direct Provision centre accommodating around 100 people seeking international protection in Ireland, Inishowen Together say they wish to extend "the warmest of welcomes" to those arriving.
While welcoming those arriving they are highly critical of the Direct Provision system: "They join us via the discredited system of Direct Provision".
The satement describes Direct Provision as "a disgrace": "Direct Provision – characterised by the movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland as an open prison – is a disgrace that this country will have to apologise for in the same way the State has had to face up to the cruelty of the Magdalene Laundries. We do not want the legacy of Direct Provision to be a stain on lovely Moville."
Inishowen Together, a group that evolved out of the local Together For Yes campaign during the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment, state: "Above all, we wish to extend the warmest of Inishowen welcomes to all those who are arriving – and to let them know that they will have many new friends here.
"We understand that people seeking asylum have faced untold difficulty in the countries that they have fled – the horrors of war and the terror of political and religious persecution – and we would like to offer solidarity and whatever support we can usefully provide.
"The people arriving in Moville are in a vulnerable position and place in their lives – but immense strength and resilience have brought them here. And, as Inishowen Together spokesperson, Siobhan Shiels says: 'Inishowen is certain to benefit massively from this injection of many new talents, perspectives and experiences'."
Their statement states that while it is good news that they get to meet 100 new people, the "bad news" is the fact that they "join us via the discredited system of Direct Provision."
The statement adds: "Across the country, we have seen reports of the damage done to Direct Provision residents’ mental health from years stuck in a system that infantilises them; that tells them what and when to eat; that makes them live in small rooms with strangers; that forces them to work out how to survive in isolated locations on €21.60 per week; that pushes them out of work and education to see their skills and qualifications stagnate.
"We in Inishowen Together stand with the country-wide campaign to End Direct Provision – and we will offer support to new Moville residents embattled by the system. We will also be pushing for the immediate and genuine right and opportunity to work for residents: Inishowen without a car is a challenge; and the border rules out any opportunity that the nearest city of Derry might have had to offer since asylum seekers aren’t free to cross it."