Drogheda councillors complain of ‘lack of consultation’ over D Hotel use for asylum seekers

New D Hotel owner says money earned from international protection applicant contract will be reinvested in 25-year-old hotel

The deputy mayor of Drogheda, Cllr Kevin Callan, has said that the local authority is seeking a meeting with the Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman to request his intervention over plans to accommodate international asylum applicants in the D Hotel in the Co Louth town.

The 113-bed four star hotel is due to house 500 International Protection (IP) applicants from March 5th. It has been profitable in recent years with its most recent accounts showing turnover up 42 per cent in 2022, with a profit of €1.07 million.

It changed hands in October last year with Fairkeep Ltd purchasing the property. In a statement on Thursday, the new owner said it had entered into an agreement with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth for the next two years.

The company said the hotel is now 25 years old and needs investment.


“The intentions of the owners is to reinvest the funds paid to them from this contract directly into renovating the hotel. The hotel owners are committed to ensuring the longevity of the hotel for the next 25 years,” the company said.

It said the hotel’s function rooms and bar will continue to stay open for the public.

Cllr Callan said members of the local authority were shocked that there had been no consultation and were concerned at the impact of the loss of tourist beds to the local economy.

The Independent councillor told Newstalk Breakfast that the Minister was “the only person” who could intervene at this stage.

Cllr Callan said the hotel had indicated it was running at a capacity of 90 to 95 per cent, with up to three coach trips staying in the hotel each week.

“The average spend in the town per week from that hotel in restaurants, cafes, bistros was €105,000 on the lower end of the scale. And we have calculated with our local committee that we’re going to lose €5.4 million in disposable income to the local economy from tourists,” he said.

The loss of the tourist beds meant the only remaining accommodation for tourists were 17 beds in Scholars Hotel in the town centre and 55 and 90 beds respectively in two other hotels outside the town.

Earlier on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Labour Party councillor in Drogheda Pio Smith expressed concern about the “lack of consultation” with local representatives about the decision.

He said the use of the hotel to accommodate international asylum applicants would reduce the town’s tourist accommodation by 56 per cent. He estimated this could cause a loss of “roughly €12 million to the local economy”.

He said there was “a lot of shock and disbelief in the town”, particularly following the closure of a Marks and Spencer outlet in the town in recent days.

“The reality is that there has been no consultation really with the local authority or local politicians, and the local businesses. And it just seems like it’s a fait accompli,” he said.

He said the Government should acknowledge the impact on the town’s tourism by compensating it for the loss of the hotel through creating a €12 million support fund. He also said that an economic impact assessment could have been carried out before the decision was made.

“They had another option, which was to say, listen, we’ll take 50 per cent of the beds and, we’ll take, 50 per cent for tourists. None of those options were discussed or even considered. And if that had taken place, definitely there would be less concern in the town,” he said.

“I don’t want people dying on the street, that’s for sure. But what I am for is for meaningful negotiation and consultation with stakeholders, and that didn’t take place.”

Cllr Smith said negotiations had been ongoing with the D Hotel for six months but that the local authority and local representatives had only received an email “on the day”.

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Vivienne Clarke

Vivienne Clarke is a reporter