100 Syrian refugees en route to Waterford

Up to 100 Syrian refugees are expected to begin arriving in Co Waterford over the next few months, with 25 expected to land before the year end.

A reception centre is opening in Clonea Strand Hotel in Dungarvan to house the refugees.

A reported 25 people are due to arrive within the next two weeks with a view to gradually increasing the numbers.

It is estimated each group will stay for around eight to 10 weeks.

The Irish Refugee Protection Programme, established under the Department of Justice, has been seeking premises capable of housing at least 70 people at a time.

Official sources have remained tight-lipped. But, locally, some people have expressed concerns over the lack of clarity and the likely number of refugees to be accommodated.

Fine Gael TD John Deasy, who lives locally, said he received confirmation from the Department of Justice yesterday a contract had been signed with the management of the Clonea Strand Hotel to provide accommodation for refugees in the beachfront hotel.

Mr Deasy said he believes the local community will pull together and help those affected by the crisis in Syria.

“The overwhelming response and reaction I have received from locals was people understand these are people who, in many cases, have lost everything and are fleeing from genocide and we need to help them.”

Waterford TD Ciara Conway (Lab) said the lack of clarity provided on the issue had fuelled speculation in the town over the last week.

Ciara Conway

“Some people were concerned some of the rumours going around were very outlandish and they were a bit disturbed by them.

“Others had concerns about the quality of life people would have out there because it is a bit isolated.

“In the greater scheme of things 25 up to 100 people is manageable for a town the size of Dungarvan,” she said.

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