Tuesday 22 October 2019

Justice Minister hits out after plans for Oughterard direct provision centre are scrapped

  • Proposed development of a Galway hotel into a direct provision centre scrapped
  • Justice Minister has hit out at people 'demanding we close down our accommodation services'
  • Department of Justice described the decision as 'disappointing'
  • Department added that it will continue to evaluate other bids received
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan (Brian Lawless/PA)
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan (Brian Lawless/PA)
Robin Schiller

Robin Schiller

The Justice Minister has hit out at people “demanding we close down our accommodation services” after the proposed development of a Galway hotel into a direct provision centre was scrapped.

The Connemara Gateway hotel, in Oughterard, was earmarked to become a facility for asylum seekers but the plans were met with round the clock protests in recent weeks.

This morning the developer confirmed that they were not going ahead with the proposed direct provision centre.

Sean Lyons, director of Fazyard Ltd, told Galway Bay FM that it was "100pc" not happening.

"I made the decision yesterday actually…that there won’t be any direct provision centre in the building at the Connemara Gateaway Hotel.

"The present owner and myself have decided to part company so 100pc I’m telling you now we will not be going ahead at all," Mr Lyons added.

The Department of Justice described the decision as "disappointing" while Minister Charlie Flanagan said there has been "grossly misleading comments" about direct provision services in recent weeks.

"People have demanded we close down our accommodation centres.

Unrest: Plans to use the long-closed Connemara Gateway hotel, near Oughterard, Co Galway, for housing asylum seekers led to 700 people attending a meeting in the town. Photo: Ray Ryan
Unrest: Plans to use the long-closed Connemara Gateway hotel, near Oughterard, Co Galway, for housing asylum seekers led to 700 people attending a meeting in the town. Photo: Ray Ryan

"They have been less forthcoming with proposals as to where housing would be sourced for the 6,014 people availing of services in Centres and the 1,379 people being provided with shelter and services in emergency accommodation," Mr Flanagan said.

"Many EU Member States provide services to asylum seekers through the Centre model and 60,000 people have been supported by direct provision services over a 20 year period," he added.

The Department added that it will continue to evaluate the other bids received and to progress the remaining tenders in Dublin and the Border region.

"The Department acknowledges that the system of Direct Provision is not perfect but makes the point that it is working to improve it," a spokesman added.

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