Organisers of a planned protest scheduled to take place on the 27th of November have said long term residents of the Wicklow Grand Hotel direct provision are living in fear as large numbers of single males have recently been moved into the hotel.
Gript recently reported on a disturbance that took place at the hotel allegedly on foot of ongoing violent behaviour between factions of the 170 single men who recently took up residence there.
Protest representative Hayley Murphy says Gardaí attended the centre on Tuesday to do educational work about “culture and cultural norms in Ireland”. Murphy says this was done through the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS).
Murphy says she has been “assured” by the superintendent that policing issues relating to the new residents at the centre ‘will be taken seriously and investigated’, and that local councillors are awaiting the results of a fire safety inspection relating to the high volume of residents.
“A very brave representative of the FAMILIES that remain in the Grand Hotel came and spoke about what life is like for them currently in the hotel” she said, adding that she would encourage councillors who did not attending previously held meetings to communicate with the long term residents to get an overview of the situation facing them.
Murphy listed issues she says the long term residents of the facility are facing saying, “Families are prisoners in their rooms” and that they are “afraid”.
She described that children living at the hotel have ‘nowhere to eat, play, or do their homework’. ‘There’s no room for them in the dining area and they are not permitted to eat in their rooms’, she says.
“They fear leaving their door unlocked due to men walking into their room”.
She says that Wicklow is already struggling with waiting lists for mental health services, and emphasising the enormous strain the 170 new arrivals are having on GP waiting lists which she says can be as long as seven weeks.
Murphy said the “scare tactics” being used to “prevent people from protesting” are “wrong” and that the people of Wicklow have a right to do so.
Saying people are “annoyed and angry” at the media tactics used to demonise the protestors as racists, saying that because the men are un-vetted local residents feel it is only a matter of time before they engage in anti-social behaviour, and that the people of Wicklow town are fearful.
Murphy says people are concerned for the welfare of the people who have been living in the hotel for the last 3 – 4 years and the impact that the situation is having on them.
She says the people of Wicklow want respect from the government and respect for “our town” in the midst of these changes.
She encouraged everyone to join in on the “peaceful protest” to be held this Sunday at 2pm to highlight the issues mentioned above.