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Minister apologises over Cahersiveen asylum centre

But centre to remain open for 12 month period

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Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan

In an unprecedented move, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has written an open letter to the people of Kerry and, in particular, the people of Cahersiveen to apologise "most sincerely" for the controversy surrounding the opening of the direct provision centre in town.

In The Kerryman newspaper this week, Minister Flanagan has apologised for the way the centre was opened but has stated that the centre will not close. There is a 12 month contract in place.

"I know there has been upset and anger. I know there has been suspicion and worry. I can see why they built up and I regret the extent to which our actions fuelled them," said Minister Flanagan.

The letter, which is also on behalf of Junior Minister David Stanton, categorically denies that the Department of Justice knew there was a case of Covid-19 present in a Dublin hotel, where some of the asylum seekers were moved from. He further stated that his department were not informed of the case.

The Department has admitted there was no consultation and it was presented as a fait accompli to the people of Cahersiveen.

The open letter comes as Fianna Fail TD Norma Foley raised concerns at the Dail Covid-19 comittee about the "actions and inactions" that was taken over the last few months by the HSE and the Department of Justice and called for her queries to be answered.

Kerryman