Let's work to make the Grand a hotel again, says TD Doyle
Despite the fact that more than 20 asylum seekers are already in situ in the Grand Hotel Deputy Andrew Doyle said local stakeholders must work together to return the building to a general hotel.
The hotel which is to be used as a Direct Provision Centre for at least one year is the only hotel in Wicklow town and Deputy Doyle said it must be restored as a tourist destination.
Speaking on Monday he said he had concerns about the use of the landmark hotel as a Direct Provision Centre and encouraged all interested parties and stakeholders to work together with the aim of restoring the hotel to its primary use as a tourism accommodation provider.
'I completely understand the level of disappointment and frustration which has resulted from this decision. I am convinced that the best way forward is for the local stakeholders, including the Chamber of Commerce, The Town Team, County Wicklow Tourism and elected representatives, to convene and to devise a plan to save the only hotel in the area.
'Many aspects of this project are concerning; the approval to proceed without any apparent consultation, the overall suitability of the hotel for use as a Direct Provision centre, the communication of the decision and the negative impact on tourism.
'The announcement to close the only hotel in the area and turn it into a direct provision centre has caused a genuine level of concern in Wicklow town. I am still seeking answers on how the application process went through and whether any alternative options were considered.
'There are many groups, initiatives and interested parties working so hard to improve Wicklow town and to enhance the community spirit for residents, businesses and visitors alike. Turning the town's only hotel into a direct provision centre on seems to be counterproductive to many of these efforts.
'I am continuing to express my concerns (about this decision) to the Minister for quality Immigration & Integration David Stanton, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and Minister for Tourism Brendan Griffin. I am also urging the relevant stakeholders in Wicklow town to work together to return the Grand Hotel to its former position a fully functioning hotel.'