Caherciveen revelations undermine public apology

The controversial direct provision centre in Caherciveen was originally scheduled to open on November 4 last and was to accommodate 300 asylum seekers rather than 150, the figure given to local people.
Caherciveen revelations undermine public apology
The Skellig Star Hotel in Caherciveen

The controversial direct provision centre in Caherciveen was originally scheduled to open on November 4 last and was to accommodate 300 asylum seekers rather than 150, the figure given to local people.

The revelations, obtained by Radio Kerry under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI), hugely undermine the unprecedented public apology issued by the Minister for Justice to the people of the town last week.

Charlie Flanagan apologised for a failure to consult locally prior to the opening of the centre writing it was not possible because “in early March my officials realised we needed new centres and we needed them quickly.”

The new documents show the Skellig Star hotel was earmarked as a centre four months previously.

Jack Fitzpatrick, chair of the town’s Business and Community Alliance, said: “It throws his [the Minister's] apology up in the air. There’s no basis for what he is saying at all.

We have a Department of Justice which we can’t trust to tell the truth. They came out and categorically stated in January that there were no plans to open a centre in Cahirciveen.”

The internal department communications obtained by FOI also show that the expression of interest to convert the hotel to a direct provision centre was made by Paul Collins, who now runs the centre, last September, before he had possession of the hotel.

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