Northern Ireland news

Co Donegal hotelier defends decision to close business to accommodate Ukrainian refugees

The Viking House in Kincasslagh is closed to the public as it houses Ukrainian refugees. Picture from Google Maps

A CO Donegal hotelier has defended his decision to close the establishment, once owned by singer Daniel O'Donnell, to accommodate Ukrainian refugees.

Colm Bonner, proprietor of The Viking House in Kincasslagh, has been criticised since he announced on Sunday his decision to close to the public.

However, the businessman said he would have had to close anyway due to rising costs.

The 12-bedroom hotel, which was once owned by internationally successful singer Daniel O'Donnell, is the latest in the county to shut its doors to the public to provide housing to those fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Speaking to the Donegal News yesterday, Mr Bonner said the refugees would be resident in the village for six months and after that, his intention was to reopen the hotel again to the public.

The businessman said he would do his best to ensure each person is vetted and background checked.

He said: "I would have had to close anyway.

"Oil, gas, electricity, they have all gone up massively so there was no possibility of getting through the winter with bills like that. This way I can keep my core staff in employment.”

On announcing the hotel's closure, the businessman also appealed for donations to help those moving in.

"There are good people, it’s just that some feel this is their hotel and it is being taken away from them," he said.

"And I can understand that frustration because I would have the same fears.

"But I will be vetting every person who comes through my door. I will do my best to find out their background information because I want people to be happy and I want my staff to be safe. It won’t be a bunch of men coming unless there is a damn good reason for them being here".

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