Protestors should not dictate asylum seeker accommodation, says FF

Protestors should not dictate asylum seeker accommodation, says FF

Protestors should not be allowed dictate where asylum seeker accommodation is built, Fianna Fáil have insisted.

The remarks by justice spokesman Jim O'Callaghan comes after a decision in Oughterard, Galway, to withdraw proposals to turn a local hotel into a direct provision centre for asylum seekers.

Protestors have marched outside the hotel for weeks while there has been strong local opposition to the proposed centre, including claims that asylum seekers were “spongers”.

In recent days, rubble was also dumped at the entrance to the hotel grounds.

Mr O'Callaghan said: “We have to be very careful that we don't allow a situation to develop whereby protests on one level and maybe lawlessness at a higher level can result in direct provision centres just not going ahead.

We have an international responsibility for people who come to this country looking for international protection. It is not an easy process.

“We do not have that many [asylum seekers]. There are 6,000 people.

“I would be concerned if a message is going out that these centres can be stopped if there is protests."

He acknowledged there may be genuine concerns about the proposed Galway centre, including its size and the planned numbers there.

Mr O'Callaghan added: “But we know from other areas where direct provision centres have been placed that they have worked out quite well as time has gone on.”

Mr O'Callaghan criticised the government for the lack of consultation over the planned Galway centre.

“If you are going to bring people along with you in a process like this, you have to appraise them of what is going to happen.

"You have to give them information and there was a failure to do that in this instance.”

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