Plans to accommodate asylum seekers in Achill postponed due to protests

Plans to accommodate asylum seekers in Achill postponed due to protests
Achill Head Hotel. Picture: Hotel website

The Department of Justice and Equality has postponed plans to accommodate 13 asylum seekers in Achill, Mayo.

The Department said it had hoped to transfer 13 vulnerable women to the Achill Head Hotel, and that the hotel was to provide emergency short-term accommodation to women who have come to Ireland seeking international protection.

They were to be in Achill for a maximum stay of 3 months.

However, the Department said that due to an ongoing protest outside the hotel, "the Department has regrettably decided that, at the moment, to ask the women to move there would not be in their best interests, as they may be vulnerable while awaiting decisions on their protection applications."

The Department added that "officials from the Department have been engaging with public representatives from the area since last week, and last night, they met with elected and community representatives in Achill.

They discussed community concerns and the engagement has continued today. The Department is disappointed at the continuing protest but it will continue to engage, in an effort to resolve the situation.

Local counsellor Paul McNamara wrote in a Facebook post that "we as community feel forgotten about and let down throughout this process.The lack of communication and consultation with the local people is appalling."

He added: "In summary of our meeting it became apparent that the department officials knew very little information about Achill. They also confirmed to us none of the three officials had ever visited The Achill Head Hotel.

"This information came as a shock. We believe The Department of Justice have failed the community of Achill along with the people seeking asylum."

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