Thursday 25 April 2019

Plans for asylum centre in Rooskey will not go ahead

Gardai at The Shannon Key West Hotel in Rooskey which was damaged by fire.
Gardai at The Shannon Key West Hotel in Rooskey which was damaged by fire.

Rachel Farrell and Kevin Doyle

PLANS to open an accommodation centre for refugees in Rooskey on the Roscommon/Leitrim border will not go ahead, the Department of Justice has confirmed.

In a statement this morning, a department spokesperson said that the decision was made not to proceed with the asylum centre at the Shannon Key West Hotel following difficulties with the lease.

"The Department of Justice and Equality regrets that it is not in a position to proceed with plans to open an accommodation centre in the Shannon Key West Hotel, Rooskey," a spokesperson told Independent.ie.

"The decision was taken following legal advice sought from the Chief State Solicitors Office which found difficulties with the lease agreement between the owners of the hotel, and the operator renting it, which made proceeding with the proposed centre unviable."

They added that the department is "not party to these lease arrangements" and that the matters were outside their control.

"We remain committed to sourcing suitable premises to meet the accommodation needs of people in the international protection process.

"A regional procurement process is underway and will continue throughout the year."

Local Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy told Independent.ie: “They’ve abandoned ship. The minister [David Stanton] said it was lease issue.”

He said it has been a “really difficult” time for local people after the arson attacks, adding that the people of Rooskey “are by no means racist”.

“We’ll have to see what happens with the hotel now. There were hopes to get it reopened as a commercial hotel so we’ll have to see how that develops.”

The hotel - which closed in 2011 - was earmarked for direct provision in November 2018, when it emerged that it was in line to become a reception centre for up to 82 refugees.

It was subject to two suspected arson attacks earlier this year.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said he was "deeply disappointed" at the time.

"I am deeply concerned and disappointed at the reports of the fire," Mr Flanagan said.

"This behaviour represents an unacceptable and worrying development and should be condemned by all."

A 'No To Racism: Asylum Seekers Welcome' rally took place after the two fires in January and February.

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