Robin Hanan the Chief Executive of the Irish Refugee Council today warned of the danger of detaining asylum seekers. Responding to reports of a new detention facility for asylum seekers to be built as part of the new Thornton Hall prison complex, he said 'This appears to be yet another sign of the Government's plans to increase detention of asylum seekers who have not committed a crime. It is always wrong to imprison people who are innocent and not even suspected of any crime. Let us remember who asylum seekers are - these are people who have fled their own countries often at great risk and loss to seek protection in Ireland. We would prefer that the Government would instead focus on a fair and transparent asylum process. The Irish Refugee Council genuinely feels that the money spent on detention is a waste of valuable resources.'
Liam Herrick Executive Director of the Irish Penal Reform Trust added 'There is a general concern that increased facilities could lead to an expanded use of detention for asylum seekers at a time when asylum seeker numbers have been consistently dropping. The move towards incarcerating immigrants and asylum seekers is worrying. The construction of Thornton Hall has been surrounded by secrecy - this issue requires public debate and transparency.'