Tuesday 21 November 2017

Local concern as Roscommon village to house 80 refugees in restored hotel

The Abbeyfield Hotel, Ballaghaderreen
The Abbeyfield Hotel, Ballaghaderreen
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

Roscommon County Council is holding a special meeting today to discuss the housing of 80 refugees in the village of Ballaghaderreen.

The Department of Justice informed the council that 80 refugees, mostly Syrian will be housed in a former hotel in the town.

It is understood the refugees will arrive in late January or early February and will be housed in Roscommon for two years.

Local councillor Rachel Doherty (FF) said there was concern over the speed of the process.

“Locals have a lot of questions about how this will happen. The main concern is about the resources in the area and the speed of how it was announced," Ms Doherty told Independent.ie.

“We will be sure to raise these questions at the meeting with the Department of Justice.”

Speaking on today's RTÉ Radio One Drivetime, Minister of State at the Department of Justice & Equality, David Stanton, stated that the refugees will remain in Ballaghderreen for six months, before being rehomed.

He added: "All they want is peace and we want to give them that. We want to give them the support they need."

Locals expressed their concern on social media after the news was announced.

One man expressed concern for local resources and said the short notice “was a disgrace”.

“Even though these refugees should be placed in a safe location… less than a days notice stating that 80 refugees will be placed in the Abbyfield Hotel which had just be reopened recently was a disgrace [sic]. 

"The lack of schools and the fact that the locals were counting on the hotel to bring in tourism is a major problem,” one person wrote on Facebook.

Another local wrote: “Roscommon County Council please lead the community by example and provide a warm welcome to the families. Your meeting should focus on planning the welcome and support and squashing disquiet.”

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