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Lisdoonvarna votes 93% against asylum seekers

Locals have rejected plans to accommodate 115 asylum seekers in a Clare town.

A vote among the people of Lisdoonvarna returned a 93% rejection of plans by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) to house the asylum seekers in the King Thomond Hotel.

Hotel owner Marcus White told a public meeting last week he would honour the townspeople’s wishes.

In response, the community held a secret ballot, at a public meeting organised by Lisdoonvarna Fáilte.

In answer to the question “do you want a direct provision centre in Lisdoonvarna?”, 197 voted no and 15 voted yes.

Paddy Dunne, Lisdoonvarna Fáilte chairman, called on Mr White to honour his undertaking not to proceed with the plan.

Mr Dunne said that the 115 asylum seekers would increase the 300-strong population of Lisdoonvarna by 38%.

“People in the town will be welcoming to a lesser number, but not 115,” he said. “It is not about the asylum seekers coming. It is about the way in which the Government has conducted this, having no consultation, and no facilities in place for these people.”

The RIA said the addition of 115 people over the course of a year “should not put an undue strain on existing resources and services”. The first asylum seekers were due to arrive on March 5. That has been put back a week, due to the weather.

RIA said the implementation of the plan could not be delayed and it intended to accommodate 30 people per month, until it reached capacity at the accommodation centre.