North Roscommon councillors seek meeting on direct provision plans

SF’s Michael Mulligan claims representatives being ‘left in dark’ over Rooskey hotel use

Cllr Michael Mulligan: “The two fire incidents that have taken place need to be condemned.” Photograph: Mick McCormack

Cllr Michael Mulligan: “The two fire incidents that have taken place need to be condemned.” Photograph: Mick McCormack

 

Councillors in north Roscommon are to formally seek a meeting with Department of Justice officials over plans to develop a direct provision centre in Rooskey village, on the Roscommon/Leitrim border.

Members of Boyle municipal district met for just over an hour on Thursday to appeal to representatives of the department to meet them.

Plans were announced last year for the development of a direct provision centre to house 80 asylum seekers in the village on the grounds of the former Shannon Key West Hotel. However, the moves have met with resistance from some in the local community.

The former hotel site has been the scene of two separate suspected arson attacks. No one was injured in either incident and gardaí are continuing with their investigations.

Roscommon County Council’s director of services, Shane Tiernan, said he had contacted the department in advance of Thursday’s meeting and he believed it was receptive to attending such a meeting.

Joint meeting

Mr Tiernan said he would also instruct the municipal district’s meeting administrator to contact their counterpart in the Carrick-on-Shannon area to invite elected members to a joint meeting.

Fianna Fáil councillor Rachel Doherty, whose sister Leah Doherty was one of the organisers of two public anti-racism rallies in the village in recent weeks, described the direct provision regime as “oppressive”.

Chairman of Boyle municipal district Sinn Féin councillor Michael Mulligan said elected representatives “were being left in the dark” over plans to use the former hotel as a direct provision centre.

“The two fire incidents that have taken place need to be condemned. In my own town of Ballaghaderreen, we were told we were getting 90 refugees into a former hotel in the town [in 2017]. We eventually got over 200 refugees, not 90.”