Direct provision centre in Wicklow

 

Sir, – The decision by the Department of Justice to turn Wicklow town’s only functioning hotel, the Grand Hotel, into a direct provision centre, catering for up to 100 asylum seekers, is nothing short of disgraceful.

The closure of the town’s only hotel will have drastic consequences for tourism in Wicklow town, with all local shops, pubs, restaurants and businesses set to lose out on trade.

This comes after huge efforts were made by the local community to recover from the impact of the recession. This lack of a hotel leaves Wicklow, as a county town, with a serious deficit.

The manner in which this decision was reached by the Department of Justice is beyond appalling and shows a complete lack of respect for the people of Wicklow town.

Not one of our local TDs or councillors was consulted prior to the opening of the direct provision centre being announced.

Not one word of consultation was had with the local schools, health services, sports clubs or any other town body. This decision was essentially dropped on the town overnight.

Let’s not forget the people who have suffered the most in all of this: the asylum seekers themselves.

Almost all advocacy groups from the Irish Immigrant Support Centre to many of the Irish political parties have long argued that direct provision is a cruel and inhumane way to treat asylum seekers.

The Grand Hotel with 33 rooms and no leisure or recreational facilities is not fit for this purpose.This decision must be reversed. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN TEEVAN,

Wicklow.