A number of asylum seekers were accommodated in Hotel Rosslare at the weekend, prompting concerns that it was being set up as a refugee centre.
The hotel, which was recently sold for €480,000, had reopened its bar on Friday night but word soon spread that a number of asylum seekers, believed to be from Syria, were resident in the hotel over the weekend, news that subsequently set social media alight with debate and comment.
Wexford County Council said they had not been aware of any such plan and contacted the Department of Justice and Equality on Monday morning to clarify the matter.
In a statement, the council said: 'Wexford County Council has learned that this was a temporary arrangement, put in place by the property owner as an emergency measure over the weekend. This particular use of Hotel Rosslare has now ceased and the 17 persons concerned have been relocated from County Wexford to alternative accommodation elsewhere.'
The council said they had been reassured by the Department of Justice and Equality that they would be advised in advance of any proposals to develop any refugee centre in County Wexford but they were not aware of any such plans at this time.
Cllr Ger Carthy, who had organised a public meeting in Rosslare Harbour tonight, but has since called it off, said he was made aware of the situation at 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. 'My understanding is that the people were moved into the hotel on Friday night. The first locals knew about it was when they saw them in the hotel and around the village. My feeling is that it was ill-advised not to let people know about this to allay their concerns.'
He acknowledged that the village was a place in transition, adding that the sale and re-opening of the hotel had been a source of positivity as it was the only operating hotel in the area and people had hoped that it would continue as a local, community amenity. He said there was a dedicated community group in the area who were working hard to address local issues and develop the area.
'Maybe this is the end of it, maybe it's not, but consideration has to be given to the lack of appropriate infrastructure in the area. The facilities aren't up to scratch: there is no capacity in the school, there are no social outlets, no community centre, and a lot of dereliction.'
He added: 'If the Department of Justice wants to come down and talk to the people of Rosslare Harbour, that's easily arranged. We live in a democracy and people should be consulted on these things.'
Meanwhile, in a statement yesterday, Hotel Rosslare said it was 'not a provision centre' and is 'now opened to all patrons, from all parts of the world, without predujice.
'The hotel closed five weeks ago with the loss of 25 jobs in the locality along with business for local suppliers. The reopening reinstated most of these jobs and we hope to ensure job security for all the employees.
'The town has suffered a loss of jobs and two other hotels have closed over the last couple of years. We intend to fully support all local sporting and community organisations in the future.'