Republic of Ireland news

Plan for centre for asylum seekers shelved

Banner on display at an anti-racism rally titled 'Love Rooskey: No to Racism: Asylum Seekers Welcome' in Rooskey, Ireland. Picture by: Niall Carson/PA
Cate McCurry

PLANS to provide a centre for asylum seekers in Co Roscommon have been shelved.

The Department of Justice cited difficulties with the lease agreement as the reason to axe proposed plans for the accommodation centre in Rooskey.

The Shannon Key West Hotel had been earmarked as a location for a future Direct Provision centre.

The disused hotel was damaged in two separate arson attacks in the last few months.

In a statement, the Department of Justice and Equality said it "regrets" not being able to proceed with the plans.

"The decision was taken following legal advice sought from the Chief State Solicitor's Office which found difficulties with the lease agreement between the owners of the hotel and the operator renting it, which made proceeding with the proposed centre unviable," the statement added.

"The department is not party to these lease arrangements and these matters are outside our control.

"We remain committed to sourcing suitable premises to meet the accommodation needs of people in the international protection process."

The department said a regional procurement process is under way which will continue throughout the year.

"The decision not to proceed was taken solely in relation to the difficulties with the lease," the department added.

In February, about 40 activists took part in an anti-racist rally in Rooskey following the arson attacks.

Anti-racism protesters and residents clashed at the rally, which was aimed at making asylum seekers feel welcome in the town.

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