‘Secret’ arrangements being made to open refugee centre in Rooskey, Dáil told

Eugene Murphy claims only ‘special people’ being contacted about plan for Co Roscommon town

Fianna Fáil Roscommon-Galway TD Eugene Murphy told the Dáil  he  found out over the weekend  about a secret plan   to turn the old Shannon Key West Hotel in Rooskey into a refugee centre.

Fianna Fáil Roscommon-Galway TD Eugene Murphy told the Dáil he found out over the weekend about a secret plan to turn the old Shannon Key West Hotel in Rooskey into a refugee centre.

 

The Government has been accused of making secret arrangements to open a refugee centre without consulting the local community on the Roscommon Leitrim border.

Fianna Fáil Roscommon-Galway TD Eugene Murphy accused the Government of failing to adhere to its programme for government pledge to have balanced migration that would support the economy and meet international and humanitarian obligations.

Mr Murphy said his party supported the programme but he had found out over the weekend that a secret plan was in train to turn the old Shannon Key West Hotel into a refugee centre in the village of Rooskey, about eight miles from him in Ballaghaderreen where a refugee centre has been established.

“No one in the community has been informed. A meeting has been organised by some of the people involved with community groups only. They have picked special people to go into it,” he said.

He added that “as a local Deputy, I was not even asked”.

Mr Murphy accused the Government of “doing this under a secret type of cover” and he asked why the communities were not being approached.

He insisted that “communities will take on this challenge and support those people. “The people who are bringing this in are saying we are going to have extra teachers in the school and extra support for the doctors, but these things are not happening.”

He said that had not happened in Ballaghaderreen, despite promises, when a refurbished hotel was turned into a centre for Syrian refugees.

“Communities are prepared to support these people but I appeal to the Government to give back-up to communities to help and assist them.”

Responding for the Government, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed acknowledged that “the community in Roscommon has previously extended a céad míle fáilte to people in direct provision centres”.

He said he was not aware of the specific case Mr Murphy was raising but would bring it to the attention of the Minister for Justice and ask him to communicate directly with the TD.

The Department of Justice confirmed in July that it would not renew its contract with the hotel housing the Ballaghaderreen reception centre for refugees which expires in December 2019 but would not specify the reasons for ending the agreement.

Refugees who come to Ireland under the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP) are housed in Emergency Reception and Orientation Centres at the Abbeyfield Hotel in Ballaghaderreen, Hazel Hotel in Monasterevin and Clonea Strand in Dungarvan. Some IRPP refugees have also been housed in the Mosney direct provision centre in Co Meath.