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Hostel fire survivors should never have been housed in Mountjoy - Mary Lou McDonald

26 October, 2006

Sinn Féin National Chairperson and Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has this morning praised the Fire Service for the rescue of residents at a hostel on Portland Row in the North Inner City in the early hours of the morning.

However Ms McDonald said that she was angry that those moved from the hostel were relocated at Mountjoy Jail overnight.

Speaking today Ms McDonald:

"It is my understanding that the fire spread very quickly throughout the building and had it not been for the quick response of the Fire Service, we could have been dealing with a terrible tragedy at the hostel.

"My concern at this point in time is that those evacuated from the hostel were relocated to Mountjoy jail. I find this wholly unacceptable and it is difficult to believe that no other accommodation was available at short notice. In such cases people should be relocated in other hostels, hotel or bed and breakfasts.

"No doubt the fire was a traumatic enough experience for those evacuated, but being forced to spend the night in Mountjoy could only have made the situation worse. It must be clear that prison is never an acceptable place to house a group of people who have committed no crime. This state has a responsibility to ensure that acceptable emergency accommodation is made available.

"It is essential that a thorough investigation is carried out to ascertain the cause of this morning's fire and into all aspects of health and safety at the hostel.

My colleague Aengus O‚Snodaigh TD will raise this issue in the Dail today." ENDS

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