Limerick councillor blasts ‘Grinch’ DP management over Xmas party furore
2018-01-15 17:02:00 -

Solidarity councillor Cian Prendiville has dismissed a report on why residents of Knockalisheen direct provision centre in Co Limerick were barred from holding a Christmas party on the premises. 


Aramark, which manages the centre, issued the report for the Department of Justice outlining a series of activities organised for residents over the Christmas period, including a party for children on 21 December.


Management claims that a resident approached them on Christmas Day about holding a party that evening, which allegedly went ahead till 2am and “gave rise to a number of complaints by residents because of noise”.


The report added: “Generally management would assist in arranging a social event but could not on this occasion due to the late notice given.”


However, Cllr Prendiville has accused Aramark of trying to “stir up rubbish” and “dodging the question”, describing the assertion that the party took place without permission as “complete spin”.


“They are just trying to dodge the key question: why was the common room locked? It’s simply not true to say the party went ahead, how could it without having a room to have it in?” he said.


“I’m sure some people did stay up socialising in their bedrooms, but that is not what the residents wanted. They wanted a family get-together, where all the children, in particular, could celebrate Christmas together. When they went to use the [common room] at 8pm it was locked. What Aramark is trying to do now is stir up rubbish to distract from that fact.”


Cllr Prendiville added that “it is a disgrace” for the Department of Justice “to simply accept this spin” from the centre’s management.


“[Justice] should instead hold their hands up and admit what happened is not right. The minister can’t stay quiet while his department helps spread insinuations about those who have blown the whistle on the cruelty of direct provision.”


The Limerick councillor, who was also involved in organising a replacement Christmas party for the families at RollerJam in Limerick earlier this month, said an appeal for presents for the centre’s children saw hundreds of toys and selection boxes donated.


“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of people, who have donated toys, clothes, sweets and more. We have enough to make sure every child in Knockalisheen gets a present.”


He added: “While Aramark wanted to be the Grinch and steal Christmas from these families, ordinary people have stood up and not let them, and that is inspiring to see.”


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