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Calls for Coronavirus testing for all residents and staff at Laois’s four Direct Provision Centre

Fianna Fáil TD Seán Fleming has called for Coronavirus testing of all residents and employees in Laois’s four Direct Provision Centres to be carried out within the next two days.

Deputy Fleming said there is excess unused testing capacity in Laois and that it made sense for it to be used to test everyone.

There are currently asylum seekers living in The Montague Centre in Emo, The Hibernian Centre in Abbeyleix, The East End Hotel in Portarlington and the Commercial Inn centre in Rathdowney.

Mr Fleming said: “We know there have been outbreaks and clusters of COVID-19 in some Direct Provision Centres putting both the residents and the employees at risk.

“One way to protect all these people is to carry out routine testing, and to do so on an ongoing basis.

“The capacity is there and there are some testing centres lying idle across the country.

“Laois has excess unused capacity and there are plenty of healthcare professionals who are ready and waiting to carry out tests.

“The Minister needs to direct the testing of all Direct Provision residents and employees immediately,” he concluded.

Nationally, the most recent figures from the Department of Health say 171 people living in direct provision were diagnosed with Covid-19 so far.

Of those, 14 people were admitted to hospital.

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.