Two Algerian nurses have disclosed conditions at ESB’s old office building in East Wall after being transferred there “without a choice”.
The two young women, who asked not to be named, said they had lived happily with “a lot of privacy” at the Crowne Plaza Hotel for seven months, but were told by message on Tuesday night that they had to leave without consultation.
One of the friends said: “We were told to pack all our things and be ready by 9am on Wednesday and we were bussed to the East Wall along with numerous others.
“We had to wait in a room until 8 p.m. that evening to be seated. My boyfriend and I share a kind of plastic capsule that’s actually smaller than a prison cell.
“There is no door, just plastic, and anyone can see into our space through the plastic.
“We were told that another woman will come to share with us, which is not big enough.”
She and her friend left their home country for the treatment of women and felt they had something to offer Ireland as qualified nurses.
“We didn’t expect to be treated like that, to be honest it makes us feel worse than a caged animal, it makes us feel worthless.”
She said the building was “extremely cold”.
“You can hear everything, kids crying, people screaming and everything you can think of… We feel so intimidated by the whole atmosphere in the building it’s awful.”
A couple, both 36, said there was “a lot of tension” in the building.
The man, who works as a senior engineering technician, said he couldn’t go to work because he was “afraid of leaving his wife alone”.
He said the staff and security have been very nice to them, but “I wish people could know how scared we are”.
According to forecasts by the Ministry of Equal Opportunities, they have to meet their international obligations to house asylum seekers.
The ministry has said there will be 15,000 beds for asylum seekers this month.
The ministry said more than 12,300 applicants for international protection have arrived in Ireland since January this year. In the ten-year period from 2010 to 2020, there were 3,500 such arrivals.
The protests and blockades of the Dublin Harbor Tunnel have now entered their third week and the East Wall Committee said they will continue until use of the former ESB office building ends or the government meets calls for the men, women and children to be accommodated .
The committee has called a referendum on housing asylum seekers and has vowed not to meet with politicians again until its demands are met.
Nigel Murphy, a spokesman for the committee, said: “Our protests have never been about not wanting asylum seekers to be housed here. It’s about how they are treated and cared for.”
The committee has asked Amnesty International to carry out inspections.
“The old ESB building is uninhabitable and the bus drivers there showed how bad it is. We will no longer meet with politicians until they adequately address this deplorable situation.”
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Equality Minister Roderic O’Gorman recently met with protesters and local residents to allay their fears.
A spokesman for the Department for Equality said the health and well-being of residents is a top priority and residents have access to support.
“There are security guards on every floor at all times. All accommodations are self-contained.
“The rooms and pods reach a height of 2.5 meters, so it is not possible for residents to look into an adjacent pod or room.
“In addition, families and single men are separated on separate floors. Some fathers live with their families in their own rooms on the family floors. Each room or pod has built-in locks.
“The single males are on a separate floor and do not have access to the family floors due to access control regulations and security personnel are present in the corridor to each block of flats.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/living-here-is-worse-than-being-a-caged-animal-42209365.html “Living here is worse than a caged animal”