UP to 115 asylum seekers are to be accommodated at a Direct Provision centre in Lisdoonvarna from March 5.
In an email seen by The Clare Champion, the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) has confirmed that the King Thomond Hotel in Lisdoonvarna, owned by hotelier Marcus White, was selected as Clare’s second Direct Provision centre, following a public advertisement for expressions of interest on January 8.
The county’s other Direct Provision centre in Knockalisheen, Meelick opened in 2002.
When contacted on Wednesday for a comment, Mr White said he could not speak on the matter until Friday, when a representative of the RIA will be in Lisdoonvarna to meet with local councillors and TDs “to answer any queries” they may have.
In a short statement, Clare County Council said it had urged the RIA to consult with the community in Lisdoonvarna.
“Clare County Council was contacted by the department in relation to this matter last week. Clare County Council strongly advised the department that any proposals which relate to County Clare must firstly be the subject of detailed consultation with elected members and the local community,” the statement read.
The contract at the Thomond Hotel is for the provision of services to a maximum of 115 people and is for a fixed period of one year from March 5. The provision of accommodation services beyond that date will be subject to a new tendering process and will not be renewed automatically, while financial details of the contract will not be disclosed for reasons of “commercial confidentiality”, the RIA stated.
“The centre will provide essential accommodation and shelter to asylum seekers. It is anticipated that it will also generate employment and business opportunities in the locality. I appreciate that the opening of the centre will be a matter of local interest. Your assistance is important in enabling RIA to explain to local groups and stakeholders the reason why the centre is being opened and to set out any possible implications for the local area,” the email from the RIA read.
The RIA said it cannot yet confirm the origin of the asylum seekers who will be housed in Direct Provision in Lisdoonvarna.
There are approximately 5,200 asylum seekers living in 34 accommodation centres around the country.