Priest to go to Direct Provision centre despite being barred

Priest to go to Direct Provision centre despite being barred
Junior Minister Aodhain O'Riordain.

A parish priest, who was asked not to attend a Direct Provision centre in Co. Laois this morning, says he will go despite the request.

Monsignor John Byrne, who is the parish priest of Portlaoise, is to visit the Montague Hotel centre in Emo this morning with junior minister Aodhain O'Riordain.

Yesterday, he said the owner of the hotel had phoned him to say he would not be allowed in because of comments he had made about the centre.

This morning Monsignor Byrne said it is his intention to attend, but he does not want today to be about whether or not he is allowed in to the centre.

He said: "I have had representation from the residents inviting me to go. They have sort of indicated to me that they would feel I was withdrawing my support from them if I didn't go.

"So, I'm meeting with the minister this morning, and it is my intention to accompany him to the Montague.

"The one thing I don’t want is for this to be about me, I don’t want this to be about whether I am admitted or welcomed to the Montague or not."


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