O’Gorman will ‘continue to engage and explore’ possibility of dual use for D Hotel in Drogheda

Spokesman for hotel said earlier in week dual use of facility was not possible for child protection reasons

Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman will “continue to engage and explore” the possibility of dual use of the D Hotel in Drogheda, Co Louth despite the hotel saying this week it would not be possible due to “child protection issues”.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said on Wednesday the Government wants the hotel to have a “dual use”, so that the facility can accommodate both asylum seekers and tourists and this would be “the best outcome” for the town.

A spokesman for the hotel subsequently said that dual use of the hotel was not possible for child protection reasons.

Mr O’Gorman met local business leaders and councillors from the area this week.


“He [Minister O’Gorman] will continue to engage and explore the possibility of dual use,” a spokesman for the Minister said on Sunday.

The D Hotel said on Sunday it had no comment to make.

It is understood the hotel had also been used by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) for medical students working on placements at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda until last October.

“RCSI arranges accommodation for students who are undergoing placements in healthcare settings at a distance around the country,” an RCSI spokeswoman said.

“Some locations are accessible on a daily basis as a reasonable commute, such as Drogheda. Accommodation regularly comes on and off availability.

“We would also make changes to our accommodation arrangements depending on the volume of students attending rotations. Our students continue to attend their rotations in Drogheda as normal.”

Labour TD Ged Nash said the “defence” that dual use cannot be achieved because of child protection concerns was not sustainable and “it does not stand up to the thinnest of scrutiny”.

“In my view, these comments are a direct and explicit challenge made by the company to the authority of the Taoiseach,” he said.

“The Taoiseach admitted in the Dáil that Ukrainian families are accommodated alongside tourists in hotels.”

The Louth TD affirmed that no child protection concerns arise and “the D Hotel needs to be reminded of this fact of life by Government and departmental officials”.

“The question is – why should an exception be made for this hotel,” he added. “This dismissive attitude has not gone down well with the people of the town.”

It emerged earlier this month that the D Hotel will be converted into an accommodation centre for up to 500 international protection (IP) applicants from March 5th.

In a statement released by the owners of the hotel – referred to as Fairkeep Ltd – they confirmed they had “entered into an agreement” with the Department of Integration for the housing of IP applicants for the next two years.

The D Hotel is Drogheda’s largest hotel, with 113 beds.

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Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times