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Concerned Inch, Magowna and Kilmaley residents who expressed their concerns about a new asylum-seeker centre in their locality at a meeting in Clare County Council where their concerns were heard. Photograph of John Kelly.

Inch Residents Vow To Continue Aylum-Seeker Centre Protest

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RESIDENTS from Inch and Kilmaley have vowed to continue a road blockade near a new asylum-seeker centre in their locality.
As the peaceful demonstration outside Magowna House enters its fourth day, it looks like protesters are determined to continue manning the approach road to the hotel on a rota basis to try and stop the arrival of more asylum-seekers.

Integration Minister Roderick O’Gorman told Clare Oireachtas members on Wednesday he has no plans to close the new controversial asylum-seeker centre near Inch, which has prompted a road blockade from frustrated local residents.
During an online meeting with Clare Dáil deputies and senators, Minister O’Gorman said he would not close the centre due to pressures on the government’s reception and integration system.
The Minister’s stance has been criticised by householders who feel “let down” by the comments he made to Clare Oireachtas members.
A statement on behalf of the protestors was read out at the entrance to Magowna House by a local resident on Wednesday night at 9.30pm.
It stated: “Having read the minister’s reply to our elected representatives today, we feel disappointed and let down by his response.
“Our position as a community is that this location is totally unsuitable for this purpose. We invite Minister O’Gorman to come down in person to view the location and accommodation.
“Our peaceful protest will continue,” the statement concluded.

As efforts intensify to secure an agreement between the operator of Magowna House and local residents about the running of this centre, Minister O’Gorman has declined to apologise for the lack of information that was provided to Dáil deputies and householders before the surprise arrival of 33 international protection applicants on a bus at 6.40pm on Monday.
The international protection applicant from places such as Algeria, Jordan, Georgia, Yemen, Palestine and Sudan are currently residing in three bungalows on the Magowna House site.
One resident in the new asylum centre told the Clare Champion on Tuesday that a majority of the group had voted to leave but had opted to stay as they had nowhere to go.
Some of the new international protection applicants said their new accommodation was better than what they experienced previously in City-West Dublin, while others expressed concern about the placement of 11 men in one bungalow.
It is understood there are 29 international protection applicants residing in three bungalows after four left on Tuesday.
Minister O’Gorman has indicated he is willing to meet a delegation from the protesting group but would not be interested in attending a public meeting.
Describing this as a “positive step”, Senator Timmy Dooley said any level of engagement is helpful.
Following engagement between locals and the operator, the manager and staff were allowed to enter and leave the premises, which Senator Dooley felt was positive.

“The operator is prepared to engage with the local community about the numbers in the centre for the next month. I am not sure if this will receive widespread acceptance from the local community.
“The vast majority people in the local community want this centre to close. We brought this view to the minister today and he was categoric that this is not going to happen. There are some who seem to be willing to compromise.
“I am hopeful that in time there will be engagement that will reach some form of compromise.
Responding to Independent Deputy Michael McNamara, Mr O’Gorman denied he had withheld information from him and Deputy Cathal Crowe following Dáil questions, as he had provided it when it became available.
“Clearly there was an intention to accommodate international protection applicants in Magowna House. Plans were made for this before I or other public representatives were informed,” Deputy McNamara stated.

The online meeting was also attended by Minister of State, Joe O’Brien and Department of Integration officials.
Deputy Crowe said the minister outlined plans to provide one bus per day from Magowna to Ennis and hoped to increase this public transport.

The Fianna Fáil Deputy said the fire certificate for the main hotel building will not be ready for two weeks, which means this part of the complex can be used for recreational activities and meals, but not for accommodation.
The Meelick Deputy said Minisiter O’Gorman outlined he or his officials haven’t been involved in any negotiations with the property owner.

A group of 29 asylum-seekers were transported by bus at 10am to Ennis before returning at around 2pm on Wednesday.

 

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