KILLARNEY is set to take in 25 more asylum seeker families in the coming weeks, even though some local councillors insist the town has already taken on more than its fair share.KILLARNEY is set to take in 25 more asylum seeker families in the coming weeks, even though some local councillors insist the town has already taken on more than its fair share.
The Department of Justice’s Reception and Integration Agency has signed an agreement with the new owners of Linden House Hotel in the town to provide accommodation for the asylum seekers. A department spokesman described the accommodation contract as ‘short term.’
Linden House, a 24-bedroom hotel, was purchased just over two weeks ago by a Cork businessman for around ?1.5 million. It was previously owned by the Knoughelouch family.
Some local councillors strongly believe that Killarney already has its fair share of asylum seekers and do no want to see the numbers rising.
Killarney town currently accommodates over 140 asylum seekers: 88 are staying in Atlas house and a further 59 in Park Lodge.
Cllr Michael Courtney is one of the local representative against bringing more asylum seekers to Killarney. “I am not a racist, I have no problem with Killarney having its fair share,” he said. “ I have no objection to Asylum seekers, but we think other towns are not getting their fair share and that Killarney is being loaded.”
“We are not saying that we do not want them, but Killarney has done its share,” he added.
Cllr Donal O’Grady said accommodating asylum seekers had become a profitable business. “Certain individuals are buying property and putting asylum seekers in it. It’s a business just like any other,” he said.
“What I believe is going to happen is that if we keep doing what we are doing we will have a situation like there was in Germany when the people rebelled,” he said. “I certainly believe, listening to the mood, there is a danger that the people will rebel.”
“We should leave things as they are rather than adding fuel to the fire,” he added.
Both councillors are now seeking information on how many asylum seekers there are in every town in the county and also how much is paid for their accomodation.
Cllr Sean Grady said asylum seekers have been contributed a lot to the town of Killarney.
“We should not use words like ‘object’ in relation to people who come here to seek supper and sustenance,” he said.
Cllr Niall ‘Botty’ O’Callaghan, said at a meeting of Killarney Town Council this week that he had a major problem with people ‘profiteering’ from asylum seekers.