Online Drop-in Clinic

Because of the virus shutdown I’ve been exploring how to run online meetings as an alternative to person-to-person contact.
This would allow New Horizon to restart our drop-in information clinics, language classes and social gatherings.
The software is called Zoom, is easy to use and can be accessed via laptop or mobile phone.
For many years we have been running a drop-in clinic on the Athlone site.
I’ve now set up a recurring online meeting from 12:00 to 13:00 on Wednesdays starting tomorrow 18th March.

Gerry Callaghan is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Every Wednesday 12:00 to 13:00

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 611 581 895

If you are free, please join us.
We can also consider restarting our language classes using Zoom.
Many thanks to the volunteers who worked so long and hard on the drop-in clinic over the years.
Look after yourselves.


As we all know there are serious measures being taken nationally to combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Direct provision sites are a particular concern as they pose a very serious problem in implementing self-isolation of suspect cases. If the virus gets into a site then it’s hard to see a method of preventing it spreading like wildfire.
To reduce the danger New Horizon need to:
  • Reduce physical contact with residents to an absolute minimum to  reduce the risk of contagion
  • Maintain a trusted communications channel to counter the feeling of isolation and  the spread of wild rumours.
We have to take the following actions:
  • All volunteers are strongly advised to take precautions given on the Health Service Executive Coronavirus page
  • Suspend Parent and Toddler, Children’s book club, Kingfisher Arts Club, English language classes, Computer classes, Arabic Language and Culture classes, and Drop-in centres. This suspension will be reviewed on 29th March.
We are working on creating an online drop-in clinic where residents can get the latest information. This, obviously, will not be delivering medical advice, just links to sites containing reliable information.
It can be accessed either online or via audio calls.
Links will be circulated when it is ready.
Please let me know if anyone is aware of particular difficulties
Best regards
Gerry Callaghan


David and Fortunate facing deportation!


David and Fortunate facing deportation!

AIT Students and community volunteers facing deportation after four years in Direct Provision

David and Fortunate Nesengani faced persecution in South Africa because of Fortunate’s Zimbabwean nationality, and moved around trying to escape it, experiencing violence in Capetown, and eventually making their way to Ireland in 2016 to claim asylum. Due to a combination of communication difficulties and difficulties in recounting traumatic events of many years ago, they were given deportation orders and are set to be deported on the 19th March 2020.

David is a 2nd Year Social Care student on work placement in Gateway Athlone, and volunteers with New Horizon in the Community Garden in Lissywollen, and has volunteered in Care Homes in the past. His wife is an active community volunteer in her churches Sunday School, the Direct Provision Centre Homework Club, and several Athlone Care Homes. She is studying on the Access Course with a view to getting into a degree course next year like her husband. They both are keen to be eventually granted the right to work and earn a living for themselves, and to get out of Direct Provision. They are valuable members of the community and have displayed resilience, initiative and drive. Fortunate was visited in her caravan Lissywollen Direct Provision Centre by the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan in January in recognition for her work in assisting a fellow Direct Provision resident when he was dying, and informing his family, arranging his funeral, arranging places for his family to stay for the funeral, and ensuring he got a dignified send off.

Ironically the Ministers visit happened around the time that her deportation order was being signed off by Civil Servants, though it was not communicated to them until much later.

The Minister for Justice has the power to grant them leave to remain on humanitarian grounds. We implore him to do so, so that the valuable contributions they continue to make to the community in Athlone are not lost.