Sanctuary Runners gather hundreds of handwashing products for people in Direct Provision and Emergency Accommodation

· Irish Running Movement hold donation drive in Cork, Dublin and Sligo

· Items given by the public include sanitiser, hand gels, soaps, wipes and medication

· Over 6,000 people in Direct Provision centres across Ireland with 1,500 living in Emergency Accommodation centres

The Sanctuary Runners movement held donation drives today (Saturday) in Cork, Dublin and Sligo asking members of the public to bring hand gels, soaps, medication and other products for those living in Direct Provision.

In all three locations volunteers collected enough products to give one item to every asylum seeker living in their respective areas.

“We’re delighted, but not surprised, by the levels of kindness displayed by Irish people in each of the three locations,” said Graham Clifford, the Founder and National Coordinator of the Sanctuary Runners.

He added: “We used safe gathering methods and the many hundreds of products collected nationally will now stand for a couple of days before being distributed to asylum seekers in Direct Provision centres and to those living in Emergency Accommodation.”

In Cork the Sanctuary Runners joined forces with Nasc – the Migrants and Refugee Rights centre – with goods being delivered to the office of the latter in the city centre.

Fiona Finn, CEO of Nasc Ireland said: “The response from the people of Cork today was absolutely incredible and very touching. In these challenging times its great to see people coming together to support and show solidarity with asylum seekers. Protecting the health and welfare of the most vulnerable and marginalised is critical if we are to effectively tackle the virus.”

In Dublin donations were collected in the car park of the Na Fianna GAA club in Glasnevin and in Sligo outside the Sweet Beat Cafe in the town.

Graham Clifford added: “While centres provide hand washing gels in communal areas we want people to have their own products. Many people in Direct Provision, and in Emergency Accommodation, who cannot work do not have the excess money to spend on these items. The weekly allowance they receive is just €38.80 per adult and €29.80 for children. We hope these products will help for now, but soon they will need more help. We worry, of course, as its not clear where our friends living in these centres should self-isolate if and when they fall ill. Its especially worrying for older asylum seekers or for those with underlying health issues. Ideally they should be moved to another location for their own safety. We will continue to keep contact, support and show solidarity with our friends in Direct Provision and in Emergency Accommodation.”

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