Concerns have been expressed locally in Rosslare Harbour, regarding the future of Hotel Rosslare and it periodically being used to house asylum seekers.
The hotel was purchased by a Monaghan based consortium headed by John McEnaney, the son of former Wexford football manager Seamus 'Banty' McEnaney, for €420,000 back in October of last year. Last month, less than a year since they themselves acquired the 25 bedroom hotel overlooking the Europort, it was up for auction once again with a guide price in the region of €550,000.
Local councillor Ger Carthy says that it was his understanding that there were no bids and that in the meantime, the Monaghan group have been using the Rosslare hotel to house asylum seekers when other hotels they own that are designated for this task around the country are full to capacity. He says that the local community in Rosslare are extremely disappointed that there was no new lease of life for the hotel and no boost to local tourism.
'There's been a lot of false promises in relation to this,' he said. 'Hotel Rosslare is not a designated direct provision centre, but it is currently being used periodically by the owners to house an overflow of asylum seekers from other hotels under their ownership. The council have contacted the Department of Justice and have been assured that Hotel Rosslare is not to become a direct provision centre and it seems this is a temporary measure.'
Cllr Carthy says that it was the initial belief that the McEnaneys intended to redevelop the hotel, but subsequently this hasn't transpired and they are once again seeking to offload the property. It is understood that the owners are still in talks with interested parties and that offers have been made for the hotel, however, they fall below the group's valuation and are less than what they paid for it just a year ago.
With it's wonderful views of Rosslare Europort, auctioneer John B Keane says that 'the potential for this business is immense'. Meanwhile, Cllr Carthy was also keen to stress that he and the local community do have sympathy for the asylum seekers passing through the village.
'I would have sympathy for them,' he said. 'A number of them would have come from Dublin and maybe have been brought to Monaghan and then down to Rosslare. They're being moved around constantly. It's a human rights issue. I think the government are being reactive rather than proactive in relation to this. You have a situation where in hotels across the country there's two and three men to a room and they can't go out and integrate with the local communities at all really. There are people in Mountjoy jail in better circumstances.'
In relation to the future of the hotel, Cllr Carthy believes that talks are continuing behind the scenes with interested parties.
The owners of the hotel and the auctioneer were unavailable for comment at the time of going to print.