- 28 Aug 20
According to reports tonight, a young asylum seeker from Afghanistan has died by suicide, following a self-isolation stint in a direct provision centre in Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan.
An Afghan asylum seeker has died following a period of self-isolation at Treacy’s Hotel – a makeshift Direct Provision Centre in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan.
Residents living at the Monaghan centre say that the individual, Arif, had a history of mental health difficulties. His condition had declined, Hot Press has been told, after completing a Covid-19-related isolation period. He is said to have died by suicide.
The Department of Justice has confirmed the death of the asylum seeker in a statement to Hot Press, though no cause is given. A spokesperson for the Department of Justice described the event as a “tragic incident.”
“The Department expresses sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased person in this tragic incident,” the spokesperson told Hot Press.
The spokesperson stated that a “critical incident policy” is in place to provide guidelines for Department staff and accommodation managers and staff in the event of the death of the resident.
“The Department is unable to comment on the specific details pertaining to individual cases,” the spokesperson added. “However, we can say that where a person sadly dies while they are being provided with accommodation by the Department’s International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS), we work closely with the centre manager to assist the person’s next of kin, if known, in accessing the supports provided by the State.”
IN A SMALL ROOM
The Department said that it is working ‘closely’ with the staff at the Monaghan centre to assist the individual’s next of kin, ‘if known’. Hot Press has been told by those who were close to Arif that relatives of the man have already been made aware of the tragic circumstances of his death.
“All deaths and serious incidents that occur within accommodation centres provided by the Department are referred to the Gardaí as a matter of course and the Gardaí, in turn, refer all deaths to the local Coroner's office," they said.
On Twitter, the Department of Justice warned against the publication of 'inaccurate' information regarding the man's death on social media platforms.
Residents at the Monaghan emergency accommodation centre have described the man from Afghanistan as an ‘educated and intelligent’ man.
They claimed that, before his death, the man had indicated that he had plans for returning to Afghanistan.
Residents who were close to the man claimed that – urged by the man’s concerned brother – his friends had taken him to see a GP about mental health issues recently.
“They gave him tablets but [he] was not taking it,” one resident said. “He was very young, maybe around 25.”
Residents claim that the man had been self-isolating in a small room. They said that the man was distraught in recent days.
ALL NECESSARY SUPPORTS
Speaking to Hot Press, a spokesperson for the campaign, Abolish Direct Provision, said that migrants may have mental health issues, as a result of having fled conflict and even torture in their home countries. Equally, individuals may bring long-term mental health issues with them.
“It is devastating to hear this news of his death," the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson made the point that asylum seekers often have to rely on Google Translate when seeking medical attention, and since the language provided by the machine may not be entirely accurate, they may not receive a proper diagnosis.
Treacy’s Hotel in Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan, was opened in September 2018 to provide beds to asylum seekers on an emergency basis.
In March 2019, the Department of Justice had relocated nearly 100 asylum seekers from the centre, apparently to make room for international holidaymakers, ahead of Ireland’s tourism season.
The Department’s contract with Treacy’s Hotel ran out at the end of March 2019. However, the Department later renewed its contract with the Monaghan hotel.
“Treacy’s Hotel is currently contracted by the Department as an Emergency Accommodation Centre,” a spokesperson for the Department of Justice told Hot Press. “The Department has contacted the HSE to request that all necessary supports are made available to the staff and residents at the centre at this difficult time.”
• There are helplines available for anyone affected by the sensitive issues raised in this article. Call Samaritans Freephone 116 123 or email [email protected]