Tipperary councillor says unfair anomaly means working asylum seekers can’t avail of COVID benefit

A Tipperary councillor says an unfair anomaly in the Covid Unemployment Payment scheme means working asylum seekers are not entitled to it.

David Dunne says he was contacted by a person residing in Bridgewater House asylum centre in Carrick-on-Suir who had been running a shop in Waterford up until the lockdown forced them to close.

He says they received one payment of the 350 euro but then nothing after that.

Speaking on Tipp Today earlier, Councillor Dunne said the reason is because they’re living in a centre:

“Legally everything has been paid but because their address is Bridgewater House, Carrick-on-Suir Asylum Centre, they’re not getting the payment.

“They get their bed and their board there so they don’t have to pay rent and the social welfare manager said to me that that’s why – because they get assistance through their bed and board they’re not entitled to anything else.”

Councillor Dunne also says this woman isn’t the only asylum seeker this has happened to:

“There’s another example of a lady who works in a hotel – was working away, no bother. And every member of staff in the hotel, including the glass collectors at the weekend, got €350. But this person didn’t get it.

“So that’s two examples that I know of and I presume there’s a lot more.

The local representative says thankfully, there have been no cases of the virus in Bridgewater House, and that’s down to the diligence of both staff and the residents there.

Unfortunately, that is not the case in at least one other centre – Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has written an open letter to the people of Kerry, after 25 asylum-seekers in Caherciveen tested positive for Covid-19.

He says he’s sorry for the lack of consultation when the centre was opened in March – but says it will remain open.

Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae’s calling for him to immediately close the facility.