Adams asks Minister for Children to visit Mosney Direct Provision Centre

DSC_3254_6510Louth TD Gerry Adams has written to the Minister for Children, Catherine Zappone, to highlight concerns for children living in the Mosney Direct Provision Centre and to ask her to visit the site.

The Sinn Féin President said;

“There are currently 119 children living on the Mosney site.

“In May 2015 HIQA published report on the Child Welfare and Protection Services being provided to children and families in Direct Provision.  This report found significantly higher incidents of referral to TUSLA of children living in direct provision than in the general population and Minister Zappone has confirmed to me that social services are currently involved in 12 child welfare or protection cases at the Mosney centre.

“Following publication of the HIQA report I posed a series of questions to the then Minister, James Reilly.  Contained within the response, which was provided by TUSLA, was a commitment to identify two practitioners, one from Child Protection Services and one from Family Support Services, to act as Liaison Officers with the Reception and Integration Agency to provide a direct line of communication and referral for both services.

“In May 2016 I asked Minister Zappone if these commitments had been delivered and she responded saying that she is still waiting for information regarding these two appointments.

“A year has passed since I initially posed these questions and 15 months have passed since the publication of the HIQA report.  These key staff will help ensure the safety and well being of the children resident in Mosney and they should have been appointed long ago.

“I have visited Mosney numerous times and I have spoken about the conditions the people there are existing in.  I have asked Minister Zappone to visit Mosney with me.

“There are huge problems within the Direct Provision system which was originally intended to accommodate asylum seekers for six months. Today almost half of the 4,324 people living in the system have been there for five years.

“Residents in these centres are not allowed to work and they survive on a State subsidy of €19 per week per adult and less than €10 per week for a child.

“Conditions in the centres are unacceptable. They are overcrowded, with families often sharing one room. Basic essentials like soap, toilet rolls and other items are rationed. Residents must pay for prescription medication.  There are limited recreational or living areas and the stress on those in the centres, especially from the fear of deportation is a constant worry.

“Media reports are indicting that yesterday a Korean woman living in a Direct Provision Centre in Cork died by suicide.  This is a tragedy for this women’s family, particularly her son, and all supports must be provided to this child and the other residents at this time.”

Louth Children admitted to adult mental health Centres – Gerry Adams TD

Gerry Adams SmilingSinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams TD has described the admission of children to adult only in-patient mental health approved centres as a “scandal that must be urgently addressed.”

The Louth TD said: “The Mental Health Commission report published this week has revealed that 95 children were admitted in 2015 to adult approved centres in direct contravention of the Code of Practice”.

20 of these children were from the Community Healthcare Area (CHO 8) which covers county Louth, Laois, Offaly, Longford Westmeath and Meath.”

Gerry Adams said:

“Under current mental health policy children up to the age of 18 who require in-patient mental health services should only be admitted to dedicated child and adolescent in-patient units.

Last year that instruction was breached 95 times and 20 children from the region that includes Louth were among them.

The report also reveals that the Community Healthcare Area with the highest numbers of admissions was CHO 8 which includes county Louth.

The Commission states that the admitting team attempted unsuccessfully to source an inpatient bed in the approved dedicated child and adolescent centres for all of the children. However, it has emerged that on all dates that children were admitted to adult centres there were bed vacancies. It notes that it is ‘unclear why these vacant beds were not made available.’

It suggests that this may be down to beds being needed outside of office hours or the lack of available emergency cover. None of these excuses are acceptable.

The Commission’s report illustrates how much remains to be done, including the need for independent monitoring of the State’s mental health strategy ‘Vision for Change’. There are also huge issues surrounding funding, or the lack of it. The current level of funding for mental health is still less than the 8.24% target, based on 2005 figures, envisaged in ‘A Vision for Change’.

I have written to the Minister for Health seeking explanations about the admission of children to adults units. The government also has a responsibility to provide adequate funding and administrative and organisational resources to mental health services.”

Gaza Toy Drive – Quigley Makes Appeal

Gaza Toy Drive 2014Louth Sinn Féin has established a number of drop off points for those who wish to donate items to aid the children of Gaza.

Spokesperson for the party, JJ Quigley said “we are asking everyone to search their homes and hearts and give generously to the Gaza Toy Drive. Our local councillors and I have been approached by lots of people who are outraged and feel helpless at what is happening in Gaza especially to the children. We all have items in our homes that we don’t use and instead of disposing of them why not give them to the children in Gaza.”sf JJ Quigley photo

Quigley continued “there is a ship going from Ireland, England and Denmark at the end of August to Gaza and we need to fill it with essential supplies. We have organised several drop off points throughout County Louth and ask that you donate what you can over the next couple of weeks. We need to have everything boxed up and in Dublin before the ship goes.”

The items needed are:

  • First Aid kits; bandages, dressings and plasters
  • Nappies, cotton wool, baby wipes
  • Toys and books for all ages
  • Children’s bikes with pump and repair kit if possible
  • Clothes for babies and children up to 18 years old.

We ask that you don’t donate cream liquids or tablets. If you wish to donate money, could we ask that you purchase some of the above items and then donate them.

The collection points are:

  • Office of Gerry Adams TD, West Street, Drogheda (Mon-Thurs 10am-3pm)
  • Community Centre, Muirhevnamor (Mon-Fri 10am-4pm)
  • Family Resource Centre, Ard Easmuinn
  • Office of Gerry Adams TD, Crowe Street, Dundalk
  • Longs Pub, Grange, Carlingford

Quigley ended by saying “we really appreciate anything you can spare.”