Kerry's Ballybunion Golf Hotel blames asylum seeker rumour for closure

The proprietor of a Kerry hotel which is set to close has cited speculation that the venue was to house asylum seekers as one of the reasons it has gone out of business.

Kerry's Ballybunion Golf Hotel blames asylum seeker rumour for closure

Michael Carr, owner of the Ballybunion Golf Hotel, yesterday announced that the hotel is to close with the loss of some 80 jobs.

In a statement on the hotel’s Facebook page, management blamed “a lack of Fáilte Ireland support and no independent tourism organisation in Ballybunion” as the main reason for the hotel closure.

However, the statement further claimed the hotel was “also the subject of false information put out last December” by local political representatives.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Mr Carr said the “false information” related to speculation that the hotel was to host hundreds of refugees in its winter season.

Last December, local media reported that “up to 200 asylum seekers” were to be hosted in an unspecified location in the town.

Sinn Féin councillor Robert Beasley had raised his concerns over any such proposal, and questioned whether the town had the service capacity to handle such an influx.

However, Mr Carr said yesterday that no agreement was put in place to accept such numbers at the hotel.

He said that he had contacted the Department of Justice to make an offer to house some refugees in the midst of the migrant crisis last summer, but that he understood that there would be a maximum of 25 sent to his hotel.

He said the speculation had an adverse impact on his business, that bookings “completely collapsed” as a result, and that he suffered threats following the claims.

Local TD Jimmy Deenihan announced last December that proposals to house asylum seekers in Ballybunion would not go ahead.

Mr Carr said 130 people would be employed at the hotel at its peak time during the Listowel Festival.

Management say the contents of the hotel will be sold off over the next four weeks, and private viewings will be held ahead of a private auction on March 26.

The hotel, which opened from March to October for accommodation bookings and all year for functions, had been due to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year.

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