A company controlled by Monaghan GAA football manager Seamus “Banty” McEnaney last year received €15.78 million in State payments for accommodating asylum seekers.
The €15.78 million paid out to Mr McEnaney's Brimwood Ltd, which includes VAT, was the highest amount paid out to any single company by the State last year for accommodating asylum seekers.
Mr McEnaney’s company was the only firm to receive fees in excess of €15 million with four other firms receiving payments of over €10 million. All figures include VAT.
The top five paid firms shared a combined €64 million.
The figures listed in purchase orders by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth show that Millstreet Equestrian Services received €14.6 million, Mosney Holidays plc received €12.19 million, Bridgestock Care Ltd received €11.09 million and Townbe Ltd received €10.36 million.
A further five firms received fees between €5 million and €10 million: East Coast Catering received €9.2 million; Travelodge received €8.7 million; the Aramark-owned Campbell Catering Ltd received €7 million; Fazyard Ltd received €7.3 million, and Next Week & Co Ltd received €6.39 million.
The increased payments to companies in direct provision came as the spending on direct provision soared by 41 per cent from €129.4 million in 2019 to €183 million last year.
Seamus McEnaney already operates the Westenra Arms Hotel business in Monaghan town. On the field, he led Monaghan footballers to an Ulster final appearance this year where they were beaten by eventual All-Ireland winners Tyrone.
Earlier this year, Monaghan GAA suspended Mr McEnaney for 12 weeks after it emerged county footballers had contravened Covid-19 regulations by holding a training session.
The 53-year-old’s Brimwood received the €15.78 million for accommodating asylum seekers at eight properties in Co Monaghan, Co Meath, Co Louth, Co Cavan and Dublin with a combined capacity of 496 in 2020.
The properties operated by Brimwood are listed as the Dún Na Rí House Hotel (40); Airport Manor Hotel (80); Carnbeg Hotel (84); Setanta Guesthouse (51); Alverno House (30); San Giovanni House (25); Lisanisk House Hotel (50) and Treacy’s Hotel (136).
Along with Travelodge receiving €8.7 million, two companies operated by another major hotelier, Dalata, received combined fees of €4.1 million.
A spokesman for the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth confirmed that planning is well advanced on purchasing property, developing a system of income support for international protection applicants and the integration support system that will apply in a new system that is to replace direct provision.
The spokesman said that the new model “is human rights-centred and will be operated on a not-for-profit basis. It is intended that the new model will be operational by December 2024.”