Sunday 26 May 2019

Millstreet firm to open fifth asylum centre

Sinead Kelleher

Millstreet Equestrian Services, the company owned by well-known Millstreet man Noel C Duggan, has added another Direct Provision Centre to its operations. The Department of Justice has confirmed that Millstreet Equestrian Services will operate the new centre at Altantic Lodge in Kenmare, Co Kerry, which has a capacity for 80 asylum seekers.

The asylum seekers will arrive in Kenmare in the next two weeks. The Millstreet company already operates four centres across the country, including one in Millstreet. According to the most recent annual report from the Reception and Integration Centre (RIA), which was published in 2017, this centre has 187 asylum seekers, 17 more than the contracted capacity at the end of 2016. RIA said that extra beds had been added to cater for the increased numbers.

The same company also operates Viking House in Waterford, which according to the most recent available figures from RIA had 69 asylum seekers at the end of 2016. Millstreet Equestrian Services also operates Bridgewater House in Tipperary and another Direct Provision Centre in Killarney, Linden House.

There are no official numbers available for the number of asylum seekers at these centres as both have come into operation since the most recent RIA report. Linden House caused much controversy in Kerry when it re-opened in December 2017 as the local community were unaware that more asylum seekers were coming to the town.

At the end of February 2018, there was 34 centres in the country, the majority of which are run by private contractors. Millstreet Equestrian Services ran four of them and has now added a fifth to its operations.